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Japanese JR-Maglev  (Source: Yosemite)
Government funnels $45M into maglev proposal.

President Bush signed a transportation bill that will help fund a high speed maglev train between Disneyland and Las Vegas. The initial $45M investment will be used for environmental studies to evaluate construction impact on one portion of the proposed maglev route.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., showed support of the project and said the maglev train "will safely and efficiently move people between southern California and Las Vegas."

As more nations begin to roll out maglev train systems, critics in the U.S. grow increasingly frustrated over the lack of support of organized high speed trains in the United States.

With speeds up to 300 MPH, the maglev train will be able to transport passengers between the two locations, about 250 miles apart, in less than two hours. Most drivers who go from the Los Angeles or Anaheim area to Las Vegas are forced to take Interstate 15, but the highway routinely is clogged with gridlock during rush hour.

Congress must now choose the maglev system over other train projects under consideration by the government, including a diesel-electric train that was proposed after a 2005 funding mishap that delayed the Disneyland-Las Vegas line. Japan was the first nation to launch a diesel-hybrid train system, but the train was twice as expensive to build as a regular train.

The United States Maglev Coalition (USMC) is an organization wanting to develop maglev technology in the U.S. The group helped the federal government fix a September 2005 report that "unfairly and erroneously criticized maglev's costs while ignoring its benefits."

Maglev trains are extremely expensive to create, so $45M could easily lead to a multi-billion dollar investment. The Shanghai maglev train network cost almost $30M per mile to create, and a proposed route in Japan is estimated to cost up to $82B to complete.

Germany, Canada, England, China and Japan are included in the small selection of countries that either have working maglev systems or are testing maglev technology.

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Albeit expensive...
By chmilz on 6/8/2008 11:12:50 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think anyone can deny the tremendous opportunity of trains. Bulk transport that is both fuel efficient and rapid might just help us get off our addiction to driving.

There will still be a need for personal transportation at both ends though. I envision the first car rental company to have some sort of pay-as-you-go car rental package for the avid traveler or commuter with service in all major cities will make a mint. I'm sure public transportation will accommodate the majority in time, however.

RE: Albeit expensive...
By bunnyfubbles on 6/8/2008 11:57:57 PM , Rating: 5
I don't know that I would call it an addiction in a nation this large - its a necessity. Unless we move away from the suburb system and plan far more organized future cities (build them up all at once instead of hodgepodging them together, slapping on new sloppy additions to expand the glut with time) driving will almost always be a requirement.

RE: Albeit expensive...
By murphyslabrat on 6/9/2008 12:08:33 AM , Rating: 2
I have family that lives across the breadth of three states, which means a lot of driving for us to visit any of them. I come from a large family, so traveling by bus/train/airplane would not be cost effective. Airplane is straight out of the question, but if the standard train-fare could buy you a 300MPH trip, then that would mean a two-hour trip to southern Illinois, or a seven hour trip to mid-Florida.

Then, of course, you add that "Maglev" sounds a whole lot cooler than "Electric/Diesel Hybrid" *_^

RE: Albeit expensive...
By s3th2000 on 6/9/2008 7:02:31 AM , Rating: 2
If only it were that simple :p
Ive rode the $30M/mile train in Shanghai, and i can tell you, it is roughly... 25x the price of a normal bus fare. Although its cheaper than if you took a taxi on your own. Because the trains are quite small, you cant fit anywhere near the number of people that a normal train can fit in (and if you did, it naturally wouldn't be able to go as fast). It actually runs from a suburb to the airport, and i was struggling to fit all my luggage in comfortably (i took up 6 seats). But at least it is speedy, cuts an hours drive to like, 20mins.

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