Time for some 21st-cen­tury trains

The Washington Post - - FREE FOR ALL -

Re­gard­ing the Jan. 7 Metro ar­ti­cle “En­thu­si­asm, op­po­si­tion grow for ma­glev train plan”:

The pro­posed Bal­ti­more-Wash­ing­ton high-speed rail project would com­ple­ment our ex­ist­ing rail and mass tran­sit sys­tems, es­pe­cially if com­pleted to New York City and Bos­ton, and per­haps south to Rich­mond and ma­jor ur­ban ar­eas of North Carolina. Our na­tion needs to up­grade and im­prove our in­fra­struc­ture, and this project can be just one of th­ese ef­forts.

A vi­brant re­gional econ­omy de­pends on di­verse modes of trans­porta­tion. New busi­nesses and com­pa­nies will con­sider a re­gion’s di­ver­sity of trans­porta­tion when de­cid­ing where to lo­cate their head­quar­ters.

The mag­netic-lev­i­ta­tion sys­tem, or ma­glev, is much greener than con­ven­tional fos­sil-fuel-based rail sys­tems, such as Am­trak and MARC, which mostly use diesel. We must be­gin to im­ple­ment non­fos­sil-fuel-based rail trans­porta­tion, sim­i­lar to the newer high-speed trains in Ja­pan, China and Europe.

The United States should de­velop proven new modes of trans­porta­tion. Such projects also cre­ate em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for col­lege stu­dents spe­cial­iz­ing in en­gi­neer­ing and the sciences. The Bal­ti­more-to-Wash­ing­ton por­tion of the ma­glev could pro­duce more than 70,000 jobs in plan­ning, de­sign, en­gi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion. More than a thou­sand jobs would be filled with the oper­a­tion and main­te­nance. And spinoff in­dus­tries could arise from this project.

High-speed ma­glev from city cen­ter to city cen­ter has ad­van­tages over air travel and traf­fic-laden free­ways, sav­ing peo­ple time, wear and tear. We need to give the 21st-cen­tury, green, high-speed rail trans­porta­tion that ma­glev of­fers a try. Robert Sny­der, Green­belt

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