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TheGerbil

Maglev still puttering along

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I hadn't heard anything about this in a while, but behind the scenes it is still being moved forward.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05276/581688.stm

One thing that caught my attention:

"The Pennsylvania Project, as it is called, is no longer competing with only Washington, D.C.- Baltimore for federal funding. Atlanta-Chattanooga, Tenn., and Las Vegas-Anaheim, Calif., projects are now part of the mix."

I am kind of annoyed about that. We fought hard to be a finalist, and now they suddenly toss other cities into the mix? What a slap in the face.

Do DC, Vegas or Atlanta really need this? Maybe they could use it, but I personally feel that Pittsburgh needs it in a unique way. We need the positive exposure! We need something to make people look at us and think "Hey, that city's doing alright."

But anyway I digress. Just wanted to post the update about the project, really. Glad to know it's not dead.

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Yeah don't you love politics . . . Pittsburgh basically invented this technology in an American sense, and again just like the "brain drain" and "talent drain" we had with the 8th largest corporation (Gulf) being swallowed up by California in the 1980s and the Dow 40 component Westinghouse being swallowed up by New York City in the 1990s, not to mention the constant blood letting of institutions like CMU and Pitt with world renown programmers and doctors being hired away by the likes of Microsoft and Oracle and Johnson & Johnson instead of the traditional progression into Rockwell Aerospace, Westinghouse and Gulf Oil Chemical Labs etc.

I say have Santorum and our other congressional delegates FIGHT HARD to save this project for Pittsburgh, I have nothing against other cities having it but Pittsburgh should be first and knowing congress (especially after the huge financial hit they will take for Katrina) funding is only usually available for one project instead of four.

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I hadn't heard anything about this in a while, but behind the scenes it is still being moved forward.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05276/581688.stm

One thing that caught my attention:

"The Pennsylvania Project, as it is called, is no longer competing with only Washington, D.C.- Baltimore for federal funding. Atlanta-Chattanooga, Tenn., and Las Vegas-Anaheim, Calif., projects are now part of the mix."

I am kind of annoyed about that. We fought hard to be a finalist, and now they suddenly toss other cities into the mix? What a slap in the face.

Do DC, Vegas or Atlanta really need this? Maybe they could use it, but I personally feel that Pittsburgh needs it in a unique way. We need the positive exposure! We need something to make people look at us and think "Hey, that city's doing alright."

But anyway I digress. Just wanted to post the update about the project, really. Glad to know it's not dead.

Now if I'm not mistaken, DC/Balt already have commuter rail connections, Amtrak, and Acela high-speed service. So they certainly don't need it. And we certainly don't need to spend this money so rich people can go waste their money in Las Vegas. And Chattanooga, TN, how big is that anyway? I supposed a sort of comparison could be drawn between Philly and Atlanta, but Chattanooga is nowhere near the size and prominence of Pittsburgh!

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There is absolutely no way the Federal Government is going to approve a $4.6B system to only move 12,000 people/day, especially with a very anti-transit administration and congress running things now.

Just for comparison purposes, the 2006 Bush budget for transit funding for ALL of the USA was only $1.2B and they only granted funding for 4 new systems in the entire country. (Pittsburgh was one of the 4)

Maglev is dead in the USA as it is in most of the world. It is not economically viable.

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The problem with the Pgh proposal is that it is very localized. All the other proejcts link one metro area to another and thus can count on mroe support. Plus, the federal government will ahve an easier time explaining a conenction between two metros than it can explaining a project that is localized within one metro. If this were a maglev beteen Pgh and Cleveland (I wouldn't say Pgh and Philly since that's impractical given the distance and the mountains), then it might be a different story.

In any event, I wouldn't look for maglev coming anytime soon. The US government already has its hands tied with supporting airlines without funding an untried bit of competition to them.

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I really don't think that maglev anywhere is going to go anywhere. There is a reason the Germans, Japanese, and the Chinese have pretty much given up on it. Its too expensive, too noisy, and too much of an energy hog to be an economically viable means of transportation. Conventional High Speed rail is a much more viable option, but due to Bush cutbacks, even this mode of transportation is now on hold in the USA as well. There is only one HSR line under active development in the United States these days.

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Pittsburgh should be trying to implement conventional commuter rail service to the rest of the Pittsburgh region instead of maglev. That would cost WAY less than $4.6 billion. It may not be as sexy as maglev (although there are European diesel railcars that look similar to the Transrapid maglev) or as technologically advanced, but it's much more practical and affordable.

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Maglev is not dead, far from it, over the last few fiscal years it has recieved millions of dollars worth of funding for a project at a Pittsburgh area University, not sure about the Airport to Greensburg project but I do remember posting congressional and senatorial links to its mentions in the federal budget, and I believe they did fund the project somewhat in the last few years.

Here is a link that might be helpful on some of the Maglev projects going on around Pittsburgh:

Representative Murtha Maglev query

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There were a lot of old article there, but I did notice the local House rep did get an allotment for maglev work this year.

California University of Pennsylvania’s low-speed, urban maglev project, $5 million

$5 million dollars doesn't sound like it is going to do much more than pay for some salaries as I would assume it is not anywhere near what is needed to do the R&D on a successful Maglev project.

I am convinced that Maglev is not a good technology at this time and instead municipalities should be focused on using very limited transit funds for something more productive.

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Someone mentioned noise and energy usage, but I am not aware of either one being an issue pertaining to maglev. Any other technology moving people at around 200mph faces the same problems and even higher mainetnance costs. My motorcycle too :-P

There is a good reason IMO, why the maglev developers stress its application in connecting airports with business centers. Those are the people who will benefit from the speed and reliability the most and absorb the fare the easiest. A taxi from PIA to downtown costs about $25, btw. Those are also the people for whom governments bend over backwards and build expensive projects.

OTOH I'll still give it a 1% chance and agree that we shouldn't be trying to build maglev as a commuter line that eases traffic congestion and costs of living.

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