With President Obama failing to launch a national high-speed rail network, it may take some outside help to jumpstart our HSR ambitions. Japan has stepped in offering to provide half of the loans required to build a 37-mile maglev train between Baltimore and our national capital, Washington D.C. The saddest part? How happy officials are to have the help.
Even though the journey covers less than 40 miles, the current rail network takes more than an hour to make the trip between the two cities. In most cases, it’s quicker to drive, though finding (and paying for) a parking spot is a headache, nevermind the infamous Beltway traffic. Even so, Americans deserve a better train network, and thanks to Japan, we may get it.
The rail system is estimated to cost about $8 billion, and the Japanese government is willing to provide low-interest loans to cover half the cost, about $4 billion. Of course there is an ulterior motive here, and Japan hopes to showcase its “Super-Maglev” train system, which connects the country with high-speed trains at fairly affordable prices. America’s only other high-speed rail project in California is currently facing a number of issues, including a lack of funding, and Republican governors colluded to put a halt to Obama’s MidWest ambitions, putting the U.S. back at square one. This isn’t the first offer of outside help America has had from countries where high-speed rail is both popular and profitable, and it’s about time we swallowed our pride and got some help getting this thing going.
The system proposed by the Japanese government could cut the trip down from an hour to just 15 minutes, saving passengers a ton of time, while providing a real-world example that high-speed rail can work in the United States. Haters gonna hate, but with Japan offering the split the cost on a small-but-important showcase project, perhaps this can restart our nation’s hope for a genuine high-speed rail network.
Just don’t hold your breath.
Source: The Telegraph