Transit Scrooge Larry Hogan Wants to Spend $10B on DC-Baltimore Maglev

Graph: Greater Greater Washington
Graph: Greater Greater Washington

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has criticized the Purple Line and Red Line light rail projects, planned for Montgomery County and Baltimore, respectively, as too costly. Though he’s threatened to kill long-standing plans to expand the real-life DC and Baltimore transit systems, Hogan is totally into a flashy and very pricey non-existent project.

David Alpert at Greater Greater Washington reports that Hogan took a maglev ride during a trip to Japan, and wants federal money to study a $10 billion maglev line between Baltimore and DC.

[I]t’s hard to make the case that maglev is a better investment than the raft of projects already in the pipeline.

The obvious big ones are the Purple Line and Baltimore Red Line, which Hogan has said are “too expensive.” His administration has dismissed studies that purport to show big economic benefits from building the Purple Line, instead focusing entirely on the cost.

But you can’t focus on the cost of the Purple Line and not the cost of a maglev. This graph shows the amount Maryland, counties, and the private sector would all have to pay to build the Purple Line, not counting federal money already pledged and money already spent. On the right is the expected maglev cost.

Alpert says Maryland is the only state that has shown interest in a federal pot of money devoted to studying maglev development. “Japan is offering $5 billion in loans to help make the line happen, but that money would still have to be paid back,” writes Alpert. “Besides the Purple and Red Lines, there are plenty of ways to spend less money that have immediate, clear benefit.”

Elsewhere on the Network today: TheCityFix looks at how people-oriented infrastructure influences urban culture; Bike Pittsburgh reports that a new bike lane on a major downtown thoroughfare is seeing a lot of use; and ATL Urbanist maps the potential future of Atlanta bike commuting.

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