Monday, November 9, 2015

Government waste

The ever frugal Gov (when it comes to school and transit funding) happily announced $28 million taxpayer money to be wasted on studying the mother of all boondoggles, the magnetically levitated 300 miles per hour tunnel train between, get this: Baltimore and Washington, (38 miles) so one can get this trip done in 15 minutes and 1 stop for who knows how many dollars instead of  40 minutes on Azela ($74) with also 1 stop or 6 stops for $8 on MARC.

For Northeast Corridors travelers the usefulness of 300mph on 38 miles is about the same as the usefulness of highway speeds on the 1 mile "highway to nowhere" in West Baltimore for commuters that go from Catonsville to Hopkins hospital, except that Maglev users arriving at some new station location somewhere under Baltimore would have to use a shuttle bus to reconnect with Amtrak at Penn Station to continue to New York or Boston since Maglev is incompatible with any bit of the current corridor.

Pie in the sky
Guess who will benefit from this government largesse? And guess from what important tasks it distracts? And guess what we won't see ever?

Answers: It distracts from the upgrade of Amtrak service (specifically the Northeast Corridor), the upgrade of MARC facilities. Lastly, we will never see Maglev services from DC to New York or Boston. 

From the Governor's press release:
“The experience of riding on SCMaglev was something that greatly exceeded my expectations,” said Secretary Rahn. “Maryland will be on the leading edge of technology as the only state in the nation with the private-sector-led pursuit of SCMaglev.”The high-speed rail line is equipped with SCMaglev technologies, which uses magnetic forces to accelerate trains smoothly and rapidly to speeds of more than 300 miles per hour while levitating inches off the ground. The JR Central train achieved a record-breaking 375 miles per hour earlier this year.During his trade mission to Asia that began May 26, Governor Hogan and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed on a Memorandum of Cooperation between the State of Maryland and the Government of Japan. 
Klaus Philipsen, FAIA 

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