Narrowed from seven projects nationwide, maglev projects in Maryland and Pennsylvania were chosen by the U.S. Department of Transportation for further evaluation to determine a final project for development.
The selection of the two states is part of a competition for federal funding to build the first revenue-service maglev high-speed train system in the United States. The final project will be selected in the winter of 2003 and will receive $950 million in federal funds.
The Maryland maglev is a 40-mile project linking Camden Yard in Baltimore and Baltimore-Washington International Airport to Union Station in Washington, D.C. The project has been under study since 1994 and plans on entering revenue service in 2010 if funded.
The Pennsylvania project is a 47-mile system linking the Pittsburgh Airport to Pittsburgh and its eastern suburbs. That project has been under study since 1990 and is backed by a coalition of state and local agencies, labor unions and members of the Pittsburgh community. If selected, it will open for revenue service in 2008.
“The next step is to demonstrate enough of the criteria is completed and is going to be successful,” said Mike Purviance, a spokesman for the U.S. DOT. Some of the criteria include developing the maglev with public/private partnerships, adequately demonstrating technology and serving the transportation purposes it proposes.
The competition was started in May 1999, with the selection of seven projects to receive planning funds and participate in a competition. After an evaluation of those projects, two were selected to refine their estimates of ridership revenue and cost, strengthen the financial commitments of their sponsors and begin work on a site specific environmental assessment. The two projects will be provided $14 million to do that work and the DOT will select a final project from the above requirements.
The remaining five projects that didn’t make the cut were in California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Nevada. To assist those states, each of the projects is slated to receive about $1 million in federal funds, as specified by Congress in the fiscal year 2001 appropriations.