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MDOT - Governor Larry Hogan Rides World’s Fastest Train in Japan

YAMANASHI, JAPAN – In support of private-sector efforts to explore building high-speed rail in Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan joined executives from the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) and the Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail LLC (BWRR) to ride the 27-mile-long Yamanashi Maglev Line located outside of Tokyo, Japan.

The high-speed rail line is equipped with Superconducting Magnetic Levitation (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 recently achieved a record-breaking 375 miles per hour.

In addition, the governor announced that Maryland has applied for $27.8 million in Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) funds. FRA has made these funds available for Maglev projects in three corridors throughout the United States, including the Baltimore-Washington corridor. The FRA funding application supports ongoing efforts by the private sector to bring SCMaglev trains to the Northeast region.

At an earlier meeting, Governor Larry Hogan and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed on a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between the State of Maryland and the Government of Japan. Specific areas of cooperation outlined in the MOC include high-speed rail, specifically SCMaglev; liquefied natural gas (LNG); life sciences; trade and investment; and academics.

The Maryland application for the federal grant comes with the understanding that the Japanese government will be a source of significant financial backing for the project, along with private-sector support.

“Exploring this new Maglev technology between Baltimore and Washington represents a huge transportation and economic development opportunity for Maryland," said Governor Hogan. "I’d like to thank Prime Minister Abe and officials with JR Central for their leadership and support of this initiative.”

The Baltimore-Washington SCMaglev project is a privately sponsored initiative led by the BWRR, 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 application must come through a public agency. Therefore, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO) applied as co-applicants on behalf of BWRR, and the application is under review by FRA. Pursuing FRA funding does 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 MDOT’s six-year capital program. If awarded, the state and BWRR will utilize the grant funds to initiate planning and engineering analysis and review compliance and permitting.

Maryland is home to more than 40 Japanese-owned companies. Governor Hogan has been in Asia since May 26 as part of a 12-day trade mission to Korea, China, and Japan, the goal of which is to strengthen economic development ties with the region and foster positive relations between the Hogan Administration and key Asian officials and business leaders.

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