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Guest Column: SCMAGLEV System’s Benefits Cannot Be Ignored

Tuesday, January 16, 2018   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Shahara Anderson-Davis

Guest Column: SCMAGLEV System’s Benefits Cannot Be Ignored

Original article here.

Transportation projects across the nation and in our region transform lives and boost the economic might of communities.

As a long-time transportation professional and resident of Prince Georges County, I’ve witnessed our region’s efforts as a national leader in transportation, investing in METRO, MARC and VRE to link communities and ease traffic on our already congested roads. Yet, we are at a pivotal moment in the future of transportation for the area and the entire Northeast Corridor.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland is ranked first in the nation for longest commuting times. The Northeast Corridor is the country’s busiest rail network, and Amtrak, MARC and freight rail all compete for usage. While repairs and upgrades to existing infrastructure are important, these transit options alone are insufficient to meet current and future demand.

I support the Northeast Maglev (TNEM)’s efforts to implement the world’s fastest train – the Superconducting Maglev (SCMAGLEV) system – to the U.S. Northeast Corridor. Revolutionizing travel throughout the corridor, SCMAGLEV would provide an additional transportation option that would ease the burden on existing rail lines shared by Amtrak, regional and freight rail carriers which will benefit all commuters.

It would also safely transport passengers from D.C. to Baltimore in 15 minutes and ultimately from D.C. to New York City in an hour.

As one of the safest transportation systems in the world, SCMAGLEV travels in a dedicated U-shaped guideway, eliminating the possibility of collisions with freight or other types of passenger vehicles or derailments. A recent Amtrak train crash in Washington state saw a 132-ton locomotive derail and fall onto a highway, taking lives and disrupting the Northwest’s busiest travel corridor. By comparison, SCMAGLEV technology was developed by the same company that operates the Japanese bullet train, which has not seen any passenger or crew fatalities during its 50-plus years of service.

I’ve had the opportunity to see the SCMAGLEV system in action. As one of the 210,000 passengers that have ridden Japan’s SCMAGLEV system, I’ve observed the thriving communities surrounding the train line. Although communities and local governments are actively debating the practicality and feasibility of a SCMAGLEV transportation system in the U.S., I believe it can be transformational for our region and nation as well.

An economic benefit evaluation has determined that the project will create over 185,000 new direct and indirect jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than two million tons across the region and generate hundreds of millions of dollars annually in economic activity.

This economic opportunity will enable men and women of color in Baltimore, D.C. and beyond to capitalize on the employment and contracting opportunities the project will provide in their backyard. Others will have the ability to travel across the corridor — fully expanding their job market. TNEM has already made strides to secure jobs in the area: Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the North America's Building Trades Unions, to use skilled labor for future SCMAGLEV construction.

The minimal community impacts, which are necessary to grow and lead the nation, are nothing compared to the profound effect it will have on our transportation system. Transformational projects are never easy and the proposed SCMLAGEV project is no different—but our region has fought through these obstacles before —a nd thanks to our shared commitment has made our area an economic and intellectual powerhouse that leads the world.

The benefits of SCMAGLEV cannot, and should not, be ignored.

Bradley Mims is CEO of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO). With almost 40 years of experience in the transportation industry, Mims has an extensive government relations and transportation portfolio.


Dennis Howland II says...
Posted Sunday, February 18, 2018
Even more benefits as an alternative to flying. Good read!