Private Sector Leads Effort to Connect Baltimore and Washington, D.C., with 15-Minute Train Ride
ANNAPOLIS, MD – The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $27.8 million in Federal Railroad Administration funds to support ongoing efforts by the private sector to bring Superconducting Magnetic Levitation (SCMaglev) trains to the Northeast region. The Baltimore-Washington corridor was one of three corridors in the United States eligible to apply for these funds for Maglev projects. The Maryland application for the federal grant was submitted in April with the understanding that the Japanese government will be a source of significant financial backing for the project, along with private-sector support from Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail LLC.
“The ability to travel between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. in only 15 minutes will be absolutely transformative, not just for these two cities, but for our entire state,” Governor Larry Hogan said. “This grant will go a long way in helping us determine our next steps in this transportation and economic development opportunity.”
In support of these private-sector efforts to explore building high-speed rail in Maryland, on June 4, Governor Hogan and Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn joined executives from the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) and the Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail to ride the 27-mile-long Yamanashi Maglev Line located outside of Tokyo, Japan.
“The experience of riding on SCMaglev was something that greatly exceeded my expectations,” said Secretary Rahn. “Maryland will be on the leading edge of technology as the only state in the nation with the private-sector-led pursuit of SCMaglev.”
The high-speed rail line is equipped with SCMaglev technologies, which uses magnetic forces to accelerate trains smoothly and rapidly to speeds of more than 300 miles per hour while levitating inches off the ground. The JR Central train achieved a record-breaking 375 miles per hour earlier this year.
During his trade mission to Asia that began May 26, Governor Hogan and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed on a Memorandum of Cooperation between the State of Maryland and the Government of Japan. Specific areas of cooperation outlined in the Memorandum of Cooperation included: high-speed rail, specifically SCMaglev; liquefied natural gas (LNG); life sciences; trade and investment; and academics.
“We are very pleased to see this funding announced,” said Japanese Ambassador Kenichirō Sasae. “Working with the United States Government, the State of Maryland and Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail, we will prove that this cutting-edge Japanese technology will be a great asset to the busy Northeast Corridor.”
The Baltimore-Washington SCMaglev project is a privately sponsored initiative led by the Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail, which envisions a 15-minute ride between downtown Baltimore and downtown Washington, D.C., with an interim stop at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
“The SCMaglev project has the opportunity to transform not only Baltimore but the entire Northeast corridor,” said Wayne Rogers, chairman and chief executive officer for Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail. “We are excited for the help of the State of Maryland and the federal government to make this project a reality.”
Because the application needed to come through a public agency, the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Economic Development Corporation applied as co-applicants on behalf of Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail. Pursuing Federal Railroad Administration funding did not require state funds or matching state funds from the Maryland Transportation Trust Fund, nor does it come at the expense of other planned projects in the Maryland Department of Transportation’s six-year capital program.
With the grant funds now awarded, Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail can move forward to initiate planning and engineering analysis and review compliance and permitting.