Republicans aren’t known for backing big public transportation projects, so when Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan visited Japan last June and took a ride on a high-speed magnetic levitation train outside Tokyo, supporters of a maglev line between Washington, D.C. and New York City were pleasantly surprised at the governor’s response. “It was an incredible experience, even more impressive than I expected,” said Hogan after experiencing top speeds of more than 300 mph. He then said Maryland would seek a $28 million federal grant to study a potential Washington-Baltimore line that would zip passengers between the two cities in 15 minutes. Now the company behind the push for maglev in the United States is stepping up its commitment. According to The Baltimore Sun, The Northeast Maglev (TNEM) just opened its new headquarters in downtown Baltimore.
The firm, which on it website says it is working closely with Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) to bring maglev to the U.S., was previously headquartered in Washington, where it will keep its office along with an office in Annapolis, the capital of Maryland. The new headquarters is located in a restored historic firehouse.
“The maglev can be a real engine of economic growth for Baltimore,” Wayne Rogers, CEO of The Northeast Maglev, told The Sun.
While preliminary estimates put the price tag of the Washington-Baltimore segment at $12 billion, the Japanese government has offered $5 billion to help fund the project. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing to export maglev technology to the United States. Some estimates put the cost at more than $100 billion to build the entire 225 miles from Washington to New York City that would take just under an hour at a top speed of 311 mph. Right now Amtrak’s Acela Express train is the fastest passenger rail line between the two cities, departing Union Station and arriving at Penn Station in a little under three hours.