What If You Could Commute from Baltimore to DC in 15 Minutes?

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Japanese Maglev train, photo by Wikipedia
Japanese Maglev train, photo by Wikipedia

What if you could commute from Baltimore to DC in 15 minutes? You could just hop down to Washington for a delicious lunch of Ethiopian food, or a quick trot around the Smithsonian. District residents looking for a bargain would buy up every rowhouse within a 1 mile radius of Penn Station. Maybe the two cities would eventually merge, creating one strange and huge megalopolis…

Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself — but the idea is not as crazy as it may seem at first. That’s because the Japanese government is so keen to export its “Super Maglev” train technology to the U.S. that it’s offered to front the $8 billion it would cost to install tracks between Baltimore and Washington.

The 37-mile rail corridor would be a kind of showcase project for the new technology, with the ultimate goal of building a 453-mile track that links DC to Boston. Still not sure this seems real? “I want to propose that (the United States) introduce the Maglev train system to represent Japan-US cooperation,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told President Obama. Sounds pretty serious to me. (Of course, Congress would still have to pony up the other part of the funds — which could pose some problems.)

This is a long-term plan — the time frame is “within the next decade” — so don’t hold your breath. Still, it’s pretty incredible to imagine, isn’t it?



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