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Hogan Seeks Funds For High-Speed Train From Baltimore To Washington

BALTIMORE (WJZ)-- It's an idea that's surfaced before in Maryland, magnetic levitation trains, or maglevs.

Alex DeMetrick reports, this time Governor Hogan's floating the idea of trains that float on air.

313 miles per hour. That's the speed Governor Hogan and his delegation hit on their maglev train ride in Japan.

They travel fast because there's no tracks or wheels. Instead super cooled magnets levitate the train, virtually eliminating friction:

"It was an incredible experience. Even more impressive than I expected it to be, seeing is believing," Governor Hogan.

A maglev link between Washington and Baltimore would take 15 minutes to travel, but the idea has been around for years.

Now, Hogan says Maryland will seek a $28-million federal grant to study a maglev line, which would come with a $10-billion price tag.

Japan says it will join the U.S. in funding it and operating costs would be covered by the train's Japanese manufacturer.

In previous reporting, WJZ found local support for the maglev line.

"There are few if any capital projects that would have the impact on Baltimore that this would have," said Robert Embry, President Abell Foundation.

The governor's enthusiasm for maglev is something he hasn't shown for rail projects ready to go now, like the Redline in Baltimore.

"It's nice that he's impressed with maglev.  I'm impressed with maglev, but we've got something we can do right now," said Rep. Elijah Cummings.

The 14-mile Redline would run from Woodlawn to Hopkins Bayview. Federal funds will help pay for it, but Hogan has called the state's share too expensive.

"It will connect people with jobs and that's something we need. I certainly hope he doesn't allow his excitement over maglev to shift the focus away from what I feel is the real priority for our region moving forward," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

A Hogan aid says the governor has no intention of using Maryland tax dollars to fund a maglev study.

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