Md., 6 others win U.S. grant to study high-speed trains

May 25, 1999|By Marcia Myers | Marcia Myers,SUN STAFF

Maryland officials don't know how much a magnetic levitation train would cost or whether it would work here, but they hope to find answers with yesterday's award of a federal study grant.

At a news conference at the B & O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater announced that Maryland, Pennsylvania, California, Nevada, Florida, Louisiana and Georgia will receive grants to study the feasibility of the high-speed trains.

The states will share $12.2 million, although the amounts for each will not be determined for a month. Maryland has requested up to $3 million and has promised matching funds.

"We've got to recognize that we can't just go on building more and more highways," said Gov. Parris N. Glendening. "This is a two- or three-decade process we're embarking on. I doubt I will ever have the opportunity to ride a maglev train, but hopefully they will operate for my children and grandchildren."

Maglev trains travel at speeds of about 250 mph using magnetic fields that float cars friction-free along guideways. They have been tested in Japan and Germany, although no system is operating anywhere in the world.

A line between Camden Yards and Union Station in Washington could cut commuting time between the two cities to 16 minutes and be a first link in a system extending to New York. The Baltimore-Washington proposal is described as a favorite contender in the race for a national prototype project that is to be chosen next year.

State transportation officials estimate the cost would be at least $1 billion.

Pub Date: 5/25/99

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