SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS Tables
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MAGNETIC LEVITATION TRANSPORTATION ISSUES
TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
JUNE 21, 2001
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin, Vice-Chair
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
STEPHEN HORN, California
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN L. MICA, Florida
JACK QUINN, New York
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
SUE W. KELLY, New York
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
ROBERT W. NEY, Ohio
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
MICHAEL K. SIMPSON, Idaho
JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
MIKE ROGERS, Michigan
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia
MARK STEVEN KIRK, Illinois
HENRY E. BROWN, Jr., South Carolina
TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
BRIAN D. KERNS, Indiana
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana
TODD RUSSELL PLATTS, Pennsylvania
MIKE FERGUSON, New Jersey
SAM GRAVES, Missouri
C.L. (BUTCH) OTTER, Idaho
MARK R. KENNEDY, Minnesota
JOHN ABNEY CULBERSON, Texas
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
JOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
BOB FILNER, California
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCGENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
JUANITA MILLENDER-MCDONALD, California
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
MAX SANDLIN, Texas
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
BILL PASCRELL, Jr., New Jersey
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
JAMES P. McGOVERN, Massachusetts
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
NICK LAMPSON, Texas
JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
BRAD CARSON, Oklahoma
JIM MATHESON, Utah
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
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Subcommittee on Railroads
JACK QUINN, New York, Chairman
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia
TODD RUSSELL PLATTS, Pennsylvania
MIKE FERGUSON, New Jersey, Vice-Chair
DON YOUNG, Alaska
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JERROLD NADLER, New York
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
BOB FILNER, California
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCEARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
RICK LARSEN, Washington
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
Alkhatib, Suhair, Project Manager, Baltimore-Washington Maglev Project, and Principal Engineer, Office of Planning, Maryland Mass Transit Administration
Barrows, Bruce, Vice Chairman, Maglev Task Force, Southern California Associaiton of Governments, and Mayor Pro-tem, Cerritos, California
Brady, J. Christopher, President, Transrapid International-USA, Inc., accompanied by Larry Blow, Senior Technical Manager
Cummings, M. Neil, President, American Magline Group, Los Angeles, California
Gurney, Dr. Fred J., President and CEO, Maglev, Inc., accompanied by Bruce Haines, Vice President, Technology and Management Services, U.S. Steel Group
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Lindsey, S. Mark, Acting Deputy Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration, accompanied by Mark Yachmetz, Associate Administrator for Railroad Development, and Arrigo Mongini, Deputy Associate Administrator for Railroad Development
Oliver, Lewis, III, Vice President America Maglev Technology, accompanied by Bob Burnette, Senior Manager for Dominion Resources
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Blumenauer, Hon. Earl, of Oregon
Clement, Hon. Bob, of Tennessee
Oberstar, Hon. James L., of Minnesota
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY WITNESSES
Brady, J. Christopher
Cummings, M. Neil
Gurney, Dr. Fred J
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Lindsey, S. Mark
Oliver, Lewis, III
ADDITIONS TO THE RECORD
Atlanta-Chattanooga Maglev Consortium, statement
Cleland, Hon. Max, a U.S. Senator from Georgia, letterm June 21, 2001
Eastern Seaboard Maglev, chart
2025 Plan Maglev Projects, California, chart
Transrapid International, chronology
California-Nevada Interstate Maglev Project, chart
MAGNETIC LEVITATION TRANSPORTATION ISSUES
Thursday, June 21, 2001
House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Railroads, Washington, D.C.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:05 a.m. in room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Jack Quinn [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.
Mr. MICA [ASSUMING CHAIR]. Good morning. I would like to call this hearing of the Subcommittee on Railroads to order.
I am Congressman John Mica, a member of the Railroad Subcommittee and acting as Chair of this subcommittee hearing this morning. I hope to be joined by the regular Chairman, Mr. Jack Quinn of New York, who will be unable to be with us at the first part of this hearing, but hopefully he can take over the Chair shortly and continue this important hearing on the issue of magnetic levitation transportation.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC First of all, I would like to ask unanimous consent that Chairman Quinn's full opening statement be made part of the record. Without objection, so ordered.
I am also pleased that we have Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, who represents Las Vegas, Nevada, and also Congressman Frank Mascara, who represents the Pittsburgh area, joining us today in the subcommittee hearing. They have asked to hear testimony and also be part of the discussions that our subcommittee will have relating to magnetic levitation trains and how they relate to their respective congressional districts.
I would like to ask unanimous consent that Congresswoman Berkley, and Congresswoman Hart, and Congressman Mascara be allowed to sit with us for this hearing and participate fully in the proceedings. Without objection, so ordered.
The order of business then will proceed as follows. I will start with an opening statement and I will then yield to other members who have opening statements. Today, we have witnesses of three panels and we will hear from each of those panelists. So I will proceed with my opening statement and then we will proceed with regular order.
Magnetic levitation, or as everyone commonly refers to it, maglev is, in fact, a cutting-edge technology that guides and propels a train along a track using magnetic forces instead of the traditional steel wheel-to-rail interface. On test tracks, maglev trains have reached speeds around 300 miles per hour, making the application of this technology, along with high-speed rail corridors, very attractive to transportation planners around the world.
Less than one month ago I had the opportunity to visit the maglev test track which is located in the northern part of Germany. I have a model of this particular train that is produced by Transrapid here before me. We had the opportunity to travel 253 miles an hour on their 20-mile test track. Incidently, that test track which I visited some years ago has now become almost a tourist attraction and does take people, even in its remote location in the northern part of Germany, as fare-paying passengers on the former test track. Incidently also, we learned, along with the other Members of Congress who visited the test track, that Transrapid has recently begun construction of really the first commercial operation of a maglev system in the world in Shanghai, China, which will serve the city-to-airport route.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In the past I have also had the opportunity, working both as a staffer on the Senate side on transportation issues and as a Member of Congress, but some years ago I visited the Japanese maglev test track in Miasaki and recently had the opportunity to view a video of Japan's sleek new maglev test vehicles. I believe they have a test facility outside of Tokyo at this time.
This hearing is of particular interest to me because in my home State of Florida, during the last election everyone was focused on the presidential election, but the voters got in front of the politicians in Florida and passed a referendum that did not get a lot of notice, because, again, of the controversy of the presidential election. But the voters actually amended the State Constitution in a referendum initiative requiring that the legislature in fact construct a high-speed rail system in the State of Florida.
I might report also to the subcommittee that our Florida Legislature did carry out the will of the people and created a State high-speed rail authority, to which I think the Governor will soon be announcing nine appointees, and also the Legislature provided initial funding for research and route and planning of that system. Just several weeks ago that bill was signed into law, fulfilling the mandate and changing the Constitution that provided for that system in Florida. One of the options that Florida may very well consider as it develops its high-speed rail program is the use of magnetic levitation technology.
For these reasons, I am very pleased that Chairman Quinn has convened this important hearing. I look forward to the testimony of the panelists.
I want to also say as Chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee and also a member of the Rail and Highway Subcommittees, I am convinced that the United States must commit resources beyond roads and runways to efficiently and in an environmentally sound fashion employ high-speed mass transit technology. I think it is long overdue. I believe we can make better use of our highway and airport infrastructure by utilizing high-speed rail connections. In Europe, for example, high-speed rail connections just between Paris and London have cut the air traffic between those two capitals dramatically. The same holds true for other European inner-city travel. I believe that Congress should continue to make solid commitments to the construction of maglev operating systems. We have done a lot of study, now it is time to build.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I also believe that the private sector, if provided just minimal financial and bonding assistance, can make these projects viable transportation alternatives to just the solutions we look at today, which are more paving, more pollution, and more traffic congestion.
Again, I am pleased that this hearing has been convened. In cooperation with the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, I would also like to ask unanimous consent that we hold the record for this hearing open for a period of 30 days. Without objection, so ordered.
I am very pleased that we have been joined now by the Ranking Member, a good friend and colleague and a transportation advocate, the gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Clement. I recognize him now for an opening statement.
Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Chairman Mica, very much. It is great to see all of you here today. Chairman Mica, you sure look good in that seat, I want you to know. I do not know how long you are going to be able to hold it.
Mr. MICA. Well, I have three subcommittee assignments, I would love two Chairs. Right now, I am just settling for one.
Mr. CLEMENT. I understand. Mr. Chairman, it is my great pleasure to join you in welcoming our witnesses today to discuss the magnetic levitation transportation technology, better known as maglev. I look forward to learning more about this exciting technology, from its basic operating characteristics to the various maglev projects being proposed and built around the world.
Maglev trains appear to show promise as a tool in our urgent battle against congestion that clogs our airports and highways. We must be forward thinking and take a proactive approach toward developing new transportation technologies to alleviate the strain. I am anxious to hear how maglev could be a part of this effort, and I am committee to exploring all of our options in order to solve one of the single greatest threats to our Nation's prosperity.
I am initially excited by the prospects of greater efficiency, speed, safety, and environmental responsibility that maglev offers. Many technologies from conventional high-speed rail to maglev are positioned to help bring America's transportation system into the 21st century. We need to study the merits of these technologies and determine best use situations for each, assuring a balanced system in which each technology can reach its full potential.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am curious to hear how maglev could be integrated with existing and proposed conventional railroad passenger operations, including commuter rail and how it might affect Amtrak, and, specifically, when is it appropriate to build new maglev systems rather than continue to invest in the conventional railroad infrastructure. With the French TGV service now operating at average trip speeds up to 190 miles per hour on certain dedicated high speed trackage, conventional high-speed rail also holds promise for congestion relief.
The key to the successful deployment of maglev, if we decided that, indeed, it should be implemented on a larger scale, would be in determining what role it can best play in our transportation system. As Mr. Oberstar will point out in his statement, maglev is not a new technology but rather one we unwisely forsook some time ago, leaving its development to others. Currently, we have the opportunity through the DOT FRA Maglev Deployment Program to again study and deploy maglev technology. I would like to reiterate my support for this program and suggest that the five other applicants that were not selected, including the Atlanta/Chattanooga corridor, continue to pursue their projects in some form.
I support this subcommittee's efforts in learning more about it and how we might successfully use maglev in our great Nation. Our current situation demands that we explore new technologies and innovative solutions and make a firm commitment to the modernization of our transportation infrastructure. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MICA. Thank you.
We have other opening statements. Let me recognize the Ranking Member of our full committee, the distinguished gentleman, Mr. Oberstar.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I walked in here, saw you at the helm, and said to myseolf did I walk into the wrong committee hearing this morning.
Mr. MICA. We are going to make people travel fast. You will think that it is an Aviation Subcommittee here.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OBERSTAR. Whichever it is. About four years ago, Mr. Chairman, you, I and several of our colleagues travelled to France to participate in an extensive review of the TGV technology which was being considered then for a line in Florida, from Orlando to Miami. I recall distinctly at the time your own appreciation for the TGV technology, but greater interest in and support for the maglev approach, and we discussed that extensively at the time. You have continued to be an advocate for maglev.
This is again the case of a technology, like so many others, that the United States invented but somebody else has perfected and is putting to beneficial use. It has not yet had a commercial application elsewhere in the world, but the U.S. in the 1960's through the mid1970's was the leader world-wide in maglev technology. The High-Speed Ground Transportation Act of 1965, and I was still a staff member up here at the time, sparked the initial interest in the exciting prospects for development of this linear induction motor technology. Indeed, in 1974, such a device was able to achieve speed of 224 miles an hour at the DOT test center in Pueblo, Colorado. But, by the middle of the following year, our Government had abandoned all funding for maglev and left the field to others, notably Germany and Japan.
This is in stark contrast to France. I will not go into the whole story, but President de Gaulle had commissioned a study of a high-speed train technology and when the commission reported a year later and he went around the cabinet members to get their reaction. All of them said it was terrible, it will cost too much, it will hurt our defense, it will hurt national health, it will hurt education. And de Gaulle asked one simple question: ''[French language.]'' And the answer was, ''Non.'' And de Gaulle said, ''[French language.]'' ''Is there any other country in the world that has this technology?'' And the answer was, ''No.'' And de Gaulle said, ''Well, then, France will be the first.'' That is what I call political will. And they put the money behind it, they made the investments, and today the five sections of the TGV are not only profitable, they help support the balance of the rail passenger transportation system in France and the rest of the SNCF rail system which is not as productive as TGV. Even TGV has achieved steel-on-steel speeds of more than 300 miles an hour under very controlled conditions.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But maglev really offers a unique promise and opportunity. In markets where air passenger service is principally under 300 miles, maglev can relieve the congestion at our Nation's principal hub airports. As the Chairman has already alluded to, by providing a high-speed ground transportation, we can free up far more valuable air space for passenger service. But we also know that to get people interested in and using high-speed rail, we have got to have travel times of under three hours, that high operating speeds, frequency of scheduling, and reliability of the program are essential.
Recent DOT data showed that within market service of O'Hare 17 percent of the air passengers could be served by high-speed rail ground transportation. That would free up an enormous amount of valuable air space in O'Hare. I have urged Secretary Mineta at our committee hearing to proceed with the initial steps toward developing that high-speed rail corridor. Next week, my colleague on the other side of the aisle, Amo Houghton and I will again introduce the High Speed Rail Investment Act of 2001 to give Amtrak authority to issue $12 billion in bonds over the next 10 years to fund high-speed rail projects in federally diegnated corridors around the country, and we will discuss details of that legislation at a later time.
I really appreciate this hearing. I am glad you have convened us. I congratulate Mr. Quinn and you, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Clement on moving ahead, and our Chairman of the full Committee, Mr. Young, who has from the outset shown a great support for rail issues.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from California, Mr. Filner.
Mr. FILNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Like my colleagues, I appreciate this hearing on this new technology, or not so new technology, as Mr. Oberstar has pointed out.
I do want to welcome particularly to Washington the Mayor Pro Temp of the City of Cerritos, Bruce Barrows. We thank you for attending. He is also the vice chairman of the Southern California Association of Governments Maglev Task Force. We thank you and your committee for your efforts to develop a maglev system in southern California that will unite us with other areas.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think we all agree that this is an issue of extreme importance. A viable high-speed rail system crisscrossing this Nation would produce enormous benefits for all of us in America. Passengers would be able to cut travel times in half, businesses could double their productivity and create a boom for our Nation's economy, new convenience for travelers, and far more options for our transportation policy in the future.
I was with Chairman Mica and Chairman Young of our full Committee as we had the opportunity to visit and use high-speed rail systems in France and in Germany. I must say that the Chairman of the full Committee and I had boarded a TGV train that was supposed to go to Paris, except we were on the wrong train. And had we not gotten off 30 seconds before it left and ended up in Leone, the history of high-speed rail in this country would be far different, believe me.
Mr. FILNER. But we saw not only the TGV, but the maglev test track in Germany. It is a quite impressive service both in testing and in operation that is very much appreciated by any of us interested in rail. Certainly it was a pleasure to have a smooth and speedy ride, among the other comforts. But it is not hard to see major, long-term advantages of utilizing maglev because it gives us the opportunity to locate facilities, whether it is an airport or an industrial plant, at much greater distances from our population centers while potentially improving accessibility to those sites. That leaves us far more space to do other things, like urban expansion, room for growth of new facilities that may have been impractical to locate in the past.
At speeds approaching 300 miles an hour, I think we went 250, Mr. Chairman, on our test ride, the possibilities for maglev are obviously very exciting. Certainly, in the western part of the United States the changes can be enormous. When we hear the testimony from Mr. Barrows telling about his work with SCAG, the Southern California Association of Governments, we will see some impressive work done to deploy the maglev. SCAG's 92 mile maglev proposal would allow southern California to begin developing a high-speed rail system that would provide the benefits of the best transportation systems in the world. They have also planned in an intelligent way that seems to promote opportunities for real growth in the future. It looks like their business plans which have been developed is evidence of their commitment to producing a result that will help our whole region and our whole Nation.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC TEA21, which all of us here supported, created a National Maglev Transportation Technology Deployment Program, and that is a good start. But I think, as we hear the testimony today, we will leave here with a recommitment to seeing the real possibilities of this technology in the United States. I thank the Chair.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentleman.
I see we have been joined by Mr. Cummings from Maryland. Did you have an opening statement, sir?
Mr. CUMMINGS. Yes, I do, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MICA. You are recognized.
Mr. CUMMINGS OF MARYLAND. Good morning. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for calling today's hearing on maglev transportation issues. Since the beginning of this session, each subcommittee has reviewed congestion issues in the various modes of transportation. My colleagues and I in the Maryland delegation have actively pursued bringing maglev technology to our State. We are confident that it will be the fast, efficient, and environmentally sensitive rail system we need to address the transportation challenges that face the Baltimore-Washington region and the entire East Coast corridor.
As you know, the Baltimore-Washington project has been chosen for intensive study and review. This project would link Baltimore City to Washington, D.C. with one stop at BWI Airport. This technology will be critical to my district, in particular, because it provides fast transport for commuters and travellers alike. As such, Mr. Chairman, I look forward to hearing more from the FRA and from the Baltimore-Washington project regarding the status of the program.
However, I would like to express one major concern, and I hope it will be addressed in today's testimony. Although the Baltimore project was chosen for continued study, there was a three month lag between the time DOT announced the selected project and the time the PEIS was printed in the Federal Register. As you know, the projects cannot officially begin work on the EIS until they receive a record of decision from the FRA. I would like to know if the Maryland and Pennsylvania projects have received their record of decision letter. If not, when will this be taken care of? I am also very interested in knowing if the funds for the projects have been released again. If not, why not?
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Maglev technology is a fascinating issue. I look forward to hearing more about it today.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentleman.
We will now turn to two of our guests who have joined us. And by unanimous consent, recognize first Mr. Mascara, the gentleman from Pennsylvania.
Mr. MASCARA. Thank you, acting Chairman Mica, and thank you for recognizing me early. I would like to also thank Chairman Quinn and Ranking Member Clement for holding these hearings.
I have long been a strong supporter of our Nation's rail systems. I am an ardent supporter of high-speed magnetic levitation. I believe this technology will provide us with a 21st century solution to moving Americans throughout the Nation in a safe, cost-effective, and environmentally safe manner.
As a Nation, we need to move forward with the construction of the maglev train, especially in light of our energy problems and aging road infrastructure, both of which are sources of debate currently in Congress. Maglev technology can be helpful in solving both of those problems. With maglev, we will conserve energy and reduce transportation infrastructure demands by reducing vehicle miles travelled.
There is no better time than now to put this new technology to work. In 1991, when I was a commissioner in Washington County, Pennsylvania, I went to Lathen, Germany with the mayor of Pittsburgh and other regional officials to view an early prototype of the maglev train. And I might say, we drove by bus from Frankfurt to Lathen, I do not know, five, six, seven, eight hours, but when I got back I said I wish we had deployed the maglev train in Frankfurt to Lathen. I had an opportunity to sit at the controls and visit the operations room, and even then it was evident that maglev had a huge potential to provide convenient, reliable, high-speed transportation to the public.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Today, thanks to over ten years of hard work by Maglev, Inc., especially Fred Gurney, who will provide testimony here today, Pittsburgh is one of the two finalists to become the first site in the United States to have high-speed magnetic levitation transit. I am sure that the people of our region will be extremely willing users and supporters of maglev technology.
The Pittsburgh project, located in parts of my district, travels 47 miles in an east-west direction, providing connection to the new Pittsburgh International Airport, downtown Pittsburgh, Monroeville, and Greensburg, Pennsylvania. It will take about 18 minutes to travel this 47 mile route. Ultimately, the train is planned to go east to Philadelphia and west to Cleveland.
One of the many benefits of developing maglev will be the need to combine traditional steel construction and futuristic maglev technologies. Unfair steel dumping and steel subsidies by our trading partners around the world have placed the entire domestic steel industry in jeopardy. The construction of maglev trains will create an entire new industry with the potential to put thousands of American steelworkers back to work.
When Congress passed TEA21 we said that we were fully committed to making America the leader in high-tech transit technology. I believe maglev is the answer because it is high-tech solution to addressing the energy shortage, combatting congestion crisis, improving air quality, and rejuvenating the steel industry and employing a skilled workforce. Maglev is the future of fixed guideway transit. I firmly believe that we need to continue to move forward by implementing this technology.
Finally, I cannot resist the temptation of a commercial endorsement. I want to say that I am proud to represent an area that has emerged as a leader in the development of maglev technology. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentleman.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have also been joined by Ms. Berkley, the gentlelady from Nevada. Welcome. You are recognized.
Ms. BERKLEY. I thank you, Congressman Mica, and I want to thank you and the Ranking Member Clement and, of course, Mr. Oberstar for holding this hearing today.
I am especially pleased that Neil Cummings is here today to testify on behalf of the Nevada-California maglev project. Mr. Cummings, the president of the American Magline Corporation, and the California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission, American Magline group's public partner, have worked for over ten years on the development of this project.
The Nevada-California maglev project will ultimately extend from Las Vegas to Anaheim, California, connecting the fastest growing metropolitan area, Las Vegas, and one of the most populous regions of the country, southern California. Recent studies have ranked both areas among this country's worst for transportation congestion.
This committee has focused on ways to solve congestion problems. The Nevada-California maglev project offers an exciting and viable solution for more than 9 million southern Californians who visit the Las Vegas area as well as commuters travelling between the cities along the train's route. The maglev train will give people an environmentally friendly alternative to driving and flying at a low cost. Consequently, this will provide vital relief to highway and airport congestion.
The complete system will travel through Primm, Nevada, Barstow, Victorville, and Ontario, California. The stations at each of these cities will provide direct connection to local transit systems, highways, airports, and other high-speed ground transportation. The first 40 miles of the 269 mile project will run from Las Vegas to Primm, Nevada on the California border. The initial maglev route will travel within the established I15 right-of-way across the desert and, because of these ideal physical conditions, the train will be able to sustain a speed of 300 miles per hour, a speed comparable to an airplane and I suspect one that would make all of the members of the Aviation Subcommittee very proud. This speed is a true demonstration of the capacity of this technology. And the 1.2 million residents in the Las Vegas area and the 36 million visitors that we have will be exposed to this capability.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Nevada-California project deserves this committee's support. The project can be built at a very low cost and with minimal environmental impact and property acquisition. Also, all of the communities that would be served by the new train are unanimously supportive. Many environmental groups have also expressed their support. Finally, because of the tremendous work of the public-private partnership, groundbreaking can begin as early as January 2002 and service could begin in the fall of 2005.
In conclusion, the Nevada-California project is an exciting, low-cost project. It will provide much needed congestion relief in the region. I fully support the development of this project and hope that after the hearing, and after hearing the testimony of Mr. Cummings, other members of this committee will agree with us. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentlelady.
I think that concludes our round of opening statements. Let us in regular order turn to our first panel. Today we have two witnesses on our first panel. Let me introduce Mr. Christopher Brady, he is president of Transrapid International-USA, and then we also have Mr. Lewis Oliver, he is the vice president of America Maglev Technology. I have known both of these gentleman. I had recent opportunity, as I said, to ride the Transrapid in Germany and Mr. Brady accompanied us members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. And Mr. Oliver is no stranger. Lew provided me with a ride on a test track that America Maglev Technology constructed in my home district near Edgewater, Florida. I believe they have ongoing plans for a Virginia project. So, two individuals who are very knowledgeable about maglev. We look forward to your testimony.
Gentlemen, we ask you to try to limit, we will not run the clock because we only have two witnesses on this panel, but try to limit yourselves in your testimony to the subcommittee. Upon request through the Chair, if you have lengthy documents or other material you would like to be made of the official record, we will do that upon unanimous consent request.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me recognize first Mr. Christopher Brady.
TESTIMONY OF J. CHRISTOPHER BRADY, PRESIDENT, TRANSRAPID INTERNATIONAL-USA, INC., ACCOMPANIED BY LARRY BLOW, SENIOR TECHNICAL MANAGER; AND LEWIS OLIVER III, VICE PRESIDENT AMERICA MAGLEV TECHNOLOGY, ACCOMPANIED BY BOB BURNETTE, SENIOR MANAGER FOR DOMINION RESOURCES
Mr. BRADY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, we appreciate the invitation to appear before you this morning. With your permission, I would like to submit my full statement.
Mr. MICA. If you are going to tout your product, you are going to have to speak up.
Mr. BRADY. Thank you again for having us here this morning. We appreciate the invitation. I would like to submit my full testimony and the chronology
Mr. MICA. Without objection, your entire statement will be made part of the record. Please proceed.
Mr. BRADY. I am Chris Brady, president of Transrapid International-USA. With me today is Larry Blow, who is our senior technical manager here. He will answer any technical questions that you have.
It is our pleasure to present the Transrapid to you. We have 30 years of testing and improvement which have led to the certification for high-speed passenger service for the Transrapid and to its worldwide deployment. Our goal is to bring a Transrapid to U.S. markets where it is needed. We are also committed to ''Americanizing'' the technology, as specified by TEA21. And to that end, we have formed relationships with preeminent American transportation engineering and technology companies over the past 15 years.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Transrapid system meets the critical test for 21st century transportation. It is reliable, virtually impervious to adverse weather conditions, and is environmentally friendly and energy efficient. It has no emissions, it takes up little space, and it is quiet. Its low maintenance cost gives the Transrapid a distinct advantage over other modes. It is cost-effective, as has been shown in the 1997 commercial feasibility study which was released by the United States Department of Transportation. Transrapid is ready for service and should be included in current transportation planning for today and for the future.
With those brief comments, I would like to show you a brief video which showcases the Transrapid system.
Mr. BRADY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MICA. Thank you.
We will now turn to our second panelist, Mr. Lew Oliver, who is vice president of America Maglev Technology. Welcome. You are recognized.
Mr. OLIVER. Good morning. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Clement, and distinguished members of the subcommittee. Thank you very much for your interest in maglev, and than you for the opportunity to speak to you this morning. I would like to introduce to you a couple of folks that I brought. Mr. Tony Morris, who is president of AMT, and Mr. Bob Burnette, who is a senior manager for Dominion Resources, AMT's largest corporate stockholder.
I have some interesting and exciting news for you folks this morning. After decades of American interest, fascination, and frustration with maglev development, I can this morning offer you an invitation to be our guests, and the guests of our acting Chairman, Congressman Mica, this fall, this calendar year to ride a preview of the first American maglev technology system ever deployed in this country.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A little background. On December 26 of last year, less than six months ago, our company executed the first commercial contract to deploy a maglev system anywhere in the world. The system will be deployed on the campus of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, just a few short hours from here. This is a real transit system. It is not a toy and it is not an experiment. It will carry passengers 365 days a year, 16 hours a day, from one side of the campus to the other. That project is now under construction: the first piles will be driven next week, on Monday, in fact.
The invitation that I just issued to you is to ride the demonstration phase of the program at our test facility in Edgewater, Florida, before it is moved to ODU, and you are going to be able to do that in the next four to five months. Real, tangible progress on maglev is just that close.
This project was made possible by an extraordinary collaboration that includes the leadership and vision and extraordinary insight of the State of Virginia, Old Dominion University, and the AMT private technology team that includes, among others, Lockheed Martin and Dominion Resources. Half of the project's $14 million budget is paid by the private sector, by our team, the other half by the State of Virginia. Not a single dime of Federal money is in this project. This may be the first major transportation technology demonstration project of the last 50 years that has been, and will be, accomplished without any Federal participation at all.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, that was not for lack of trying. The project was originally conceived as a $21 million project with a third of the money coming each from the private, State, and Federal sectors. The private and State sectors stepped up, as asked, put in their money, and then approached Washington. And we were successful. The State of Virginia, in fact, worked very hard to obtain a $2 million mark in fiscal year 1999. But, unfortunately, when the project could not start on time we lost our funding.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, we did what American entrepreneurs do every daywe went out and redesigned the project and did it anyway. And that is why we are here today with a tremendous success story for you.
Now how is that possible? How did we sign the first commercial maglev contract when others have been trying for decades to do the same thing? Well, the answer is simple: price tag. Our highly credible, all-American team has done something that we think nobody else has ever done before. We have developed a technology that we think is genuinely affordable. We are talking about a price tag under $20 million a mile for a full-up complete maglev systemdual guideway, high-speed, the works. And that figure is important because a lot of analysts, including our own economists, believe that at that price tag there are a lot of high-density routes in the United States, not all, but many that can actually be self-supporting. And when I say ''self-supporting,'' I am not talking about paying operating costs, I am talking about paying capital costs as well. And that point cannot be over-emphasized. We are not talking about being able to accomplish these systems with a small, or tolerable, or acceptable Federal Government subsidy, we are talking about doing this with no Government subsidy at all.
Now how are we able to do that? How can we do a project at that price tag? Well, this is not a technical briefing and we do not have time to go into the details, but the short answer is that we have learned from our predecessors who have been at work in this field for the last 30 or 40 years. We have a greatly simplified technology with a much lighter weight, much simpler vehicle, and, most importantly, a much simpler, lighter weight track that is purely passivethere are not motors, there are no active components, it is a dumb piece of steel that the vehicle moves against. And this is the reason why we have private and public sector investment on the scale that we do even without Federal participation.
The private sector believes that this technology can be genuinely profitable, not only to build but to operate, and the public sector partners, particularly in Virginia, see for the first time an affordable solution to serious transportation problems. The deal in Virginia is, and the reason for their support, is not just to build a transit system on ODU campus. This is the first phase of what they anticipate as a larger project that will connect various parts of the State of Virginia and solve some regional and intrastate transportation problems. They have expected and demanded that our team, if it is successful at ODU, come to the State of Virginia legislature in the very next session to propose such follow-on projects, and we mean to do that.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We understand perfectly well that we have to kind of put our money where our mouth is, that we have to prove with steel and concrete and sweat what I have said here this morning. We are prepared to do that and do it a lot faster than I hope most of the members of this committee realized was even possible. The reason for this testimony is to make you aware that this possibility is rolling down the track, if you will, and rolling down the track very quickly.
It is also to say that we could certainly use your help. We think we have earned that help. We have already done much more for less, with better results and quicker progress, at lower cost, and with more private investment than anyone that has ever worked in this field before. The Germans and Japanese have spent decades and billions, and we have done on a shoestring an enormous amount of progress in a short period of time.
While the ODU project is relatively short and relatively low-speed, it will prove the basic fundamentals of the technology and operational format. Moreover, the test version of the project at our facility at Edgewater will demonstrate much higher speed performance and much higher capabilities. When we eliminated the Federal participation in the project two years ago we eliminated still higher capabilities. We would love to put those back in so that when I invite you to Florida you can have an even better ''E-ticket'' ride, in the words of our close neighbor at Disney. And wouldn't it be a novelty to have a major technology demonstration project in this country in which the Federal participation was 10 or 20 cents on the dollar at the back end of the project rather than 80 cents or 100 cents on the dollar at the front end.
Finally, there will be those who say that this just cannot be done. How can a group of private American companies do on a shoestring in a few years what the entire German and Japanese governments have not been able to do with billions of dollars in decades? Because that is what America is all about. Compared to going to the moon, this is not much of a challenge. And as for the doubters, we are going to go out and prove with acts what we are saying with words here in this room today. Have we got a surprise for them. Thank you very much for your time.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MICA. Thank you both for your testimony. We will proceed now with some questions.
One of the problems with maglev in the past is a problem of cost. Mr. Brady, automated people-movers and maglev projects of the past have had cost estimates giving some sticker shock, usually in the $150 to $200 million a mile cost range. What is your estimated cost? Maybe you could cite it. I do not know if you have figures on the Shanghai project or any other current cost figures that might give us some hope for your particular technology and product to be marketable and cost viable.
Mr. BRADY. Sure. I appreciate the question, Mr. Chairman. It has been a concern in the past. The cost per mile of the Transrapid technology, without trying to be cute or funny, is dependent on the mile that you are talking about. About 70 percent of the cost of one of these systems is in the infrastructure. And so if you are going over hilly terrain, if you have problematic geotechnical issues, your infrastructure cost will be a little bit higher. If you are going flat, straight, you do not have any civil engineering challenges, your cost will be much lower.
The best estimate that we have, and this is as the result of years of planning the Berlin-Hamburg project between Germany's two largest cities, were average costs per mile were $34 million per mile for a double track guideway. And as the seven projects that participated in the Maglev Deployment Program just proved by turning in their project descriptions to FRA, they were comfortably in that same ballpark when you look at what some of the State DOTs added in the way of contingency cost for dealing with a new technology.
Mr. MICA. Mr. Oliver, maybe you could tell us a little bit about your project costs, specifically, and then why, you have stated it at some pretty low figures, why can you produce that, and maybe how your technology differs from a Transrapid.
Mr. OLIVER. Sure. As Mr. Brady stated absolutely correctly, almost all of the cost of these systems are in the infrastructure, specifically the guideway. No matter how expensive your vehicles or your stations are, it is the guideway that occupies the entire distance of your system. So if you have an expensive guideway, you are going to have an expensive system. And if you have an inexpensive guideway, you are going to have an inexpensive system. And guideway costs are a function of two things: one is the robustness of the structure of the guideway, and the other is the technology that is actually incorporated into it that helps the vehicle move forward. The robustness of the guideway is a function of vehicle weight. There is a relationship between the square of the vehicle rate and the actual structure. So relatively modest reductions in the weight of the vehicle translate into quite substantial and dramatic reductions in the cost of the vehicle structure from a civil engineering perspective.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What we did in trying to learn from some of the earlier folks that went before us that did fine workthe German technology, for example, was brilliant engineering, executed by a flawless team that has had a lot of years to work on it, and the Japanese have an equally interesting systemis we tried to learn the lesson about keeping the vehicle weight very low, and, by the way, we have done that, and that translates into a structural cost that for an elevated system is probably on the order of 30 to 50 percent less just for the structural portion of the system. But most importantly, it is that guideway technology. Other maglev technologies, and I will not be specific or put Mr. Brady on the spot, but most maglev technologies are about using the track to propel the vehicle. It is as if you built the Erie Canal and instead of putting a boat in the canal and having it motor along, you designed a giant wave machine every 10 feet in the canal and you just put the boat in there and the canal just sort of shoved the boat along. You can imagine how expensive that would be.
Well, we just built the canal. And so when you put the boat in, which is our vehicle, it pushes against the water that happens to be in the canal and goes forward. Our track is nothing more than a piece of steel. There are no windings, there are no motors, there is nothing synchronous, you do not have to put the energy at a particular location at a particular time. And that dramatically reduces the price of the system. That is where the savings are.
Our vehicles are also simpler, we think they are cheaper, but that is not a dramatic difference in the total price of the system. The stations are comparable, the maintenance facilities are comparable, and those kinds of things. But it is that guideway cost. We actually think we can build an elevated guideway system at an overall price that is comparable to light rail, and in some cases even lower, with a rail cost that is also comparable to high-speed rail systems without any of the technical complexity.
Mr. MICA. One of the things that I recognize is a key to any successful venture, particularly business venture, and these both appear to be that, is financing. If you can finance a project, you can make it happen. I think the private sector has always shown that they could do it faster, cheaper, and just getting it together a little bit more effectively. Do you have any recommendations for finance? I know the Congress is considering, and the Senate has introduced some bonding, high-speed rail legislation. But, again, maybe you could both comment on what helpyou have had trouble getting any Federal finance, your project I think has been partly financed by I guess the German governmentwhat would make this happen as far as finance from the U.S. Government and their assistance? Mr. Brady and then Mr. Oliver.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BRADY. Thanks for the question, Mr. Chairman. The Commercial Feasibility Study which DOT performed over a period of years and at least in 1997 showed pretty conclusively that in corridors where it made sense that super-speed maglev technology could pay for itself. Not only would it avoid operating subsidies, but it could pay back its capital costs.
It was on that basis that the U.S. Maglev Deployment Program was written, with the notion that since the guideway for a maglev system is, at its infrastructure, tantamount to a highway or a runway, that there was an expectation that the public should support that component and that anything else, the stations, the vehicles, electrification, should all be privately borne. The Maglev Development Program then is a two-thirds, one-third program where all the projects that have participated so far have had to put up matching money, have had to go to reputable and credible financial institutions and prove to them that these projects could be self-sufficient.
The Maglev Deployment Program has an authorization for $950 million for a single project to be built. Inasmuch as the seven projects are just now approaching Phase III of that, which is the EIS and further design and engineering, I think it is probably unlikely that the construction monies will be tapped, we will not get to construction by the end of TEA21. But it is our hope that building on that same basic paradigmor using certain bond vehicles that might be made more broadly eligible than just one operatowould be sufficient to fund a number of programs, as many as the committee and the Congress in its will decided it wanted.
Mr. MICA. Thank you.
Mr. OLIVER. Yes, sir, thank you. First, I want to say that we are not a participant in the National Maglev Initiative or that program and we are not here today to try to go poaching on somebody else's territory. We want to think of our vehicle as ''Herbie the Love Bug'' and do not want to step on anybody else's toes. So that is your business. It is a project that is already underway and we understand we are too late and we have to think about other options.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Fortunately, we have a substantial amount of private sector investment. Mr. Burnette, who is here with Dominion Resources, which is one of the largest utility companies in the world and one of the savviest as well, is a major investor in this technology. And so our major interest is in finding matching funds for folks who have sort of gone out and helped themselves. And that is what we have done. We have found team partners and supporters in local and State Governments, which is where the effort started. This is sort of the opposite way that it usually works. Usually, these programs start from the Federal Government on down and you go looking for private and local partners. Well, we sort of started from the ground-up because we did not have any choice.
And so what we would like to see emphasized is a program that would use Federal dollars to match what we think will be substantial private contributions that our team is willing to put in and also State contributions, not only from the State of Virginia, but from the State of Florida and, hopefully, from other States, some of those represented here that hopefully we will have an opportunity to talk to later. Also, if and to the extent that the Congress does pass the authorization for the $12 billion worth of infrastructure funding, we would certainly hope that the committee would seriously consider making some fraction or some portion of those funds available for maglev development as well, possibly with some strings attached about State participation or private participation, but nonetheless that there was an opportunity to do that.
I think I am probably speaking for Mr. Brady as well, and anybody else in the maglev business, to say that to the extent possible we would like to have the opportunity to participate in that as long as those programs were not specifically limited to just rail technology. So that is an important part. Our all-American team is ready to put our all-American dollars where our all-American mouths are.
Mr. MICA. I thank you both.
I yield now to the Ranking Member, Mr. Clement, for questions.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. Brady, there have long been concerns over the potential health and environmental consequences from increased exposure to electromagnetic fields. Are you confident that this problem has been resolved?
Mr. BRADY. Absolutely. I can say without question. First of all there is sort of a technical answer, which is that since the magnets are below the vehicle compartment in the first place, any field that is created does not expose the travelling rider because it is all confined to beneath the vehicle. Secondly, we have had this tested and certified by the German government, who, in their long-term testing and certification process focused considerably on the health implications, and their work has been recognized as being comprehensive by our own Government. Our two governments have worked together, and there are no adverse health effects that we are aware of.
Mr. CLEMENT. What would happen if there were a sudden power failure? How would a vehicle travelling 300 miles per hour come to a safe stop, and what would happen if an animal or a foreign object got on the guideway?
Mr. BRADY. First of all, the vehicle itself carries onboard batteries so it is constantly powering up the batteries on the vehicle from the linear motors underneath the guideway. The system is designed so that if propulsion and electrification were lost in the guideway, that the vehicle, through the onboard capabilities, could safely coast to the next programmed stop, so that you would not need to build in evacuation ramps or hang bridges off the guideway to evacuate people. And this is a function of the design of the project at the outset.
We would anticipate that since this is a dedicated guideway that it would also be sealed and, obviously, we would do our utmost to keep foreign objects off.
Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. Oliver, at what speed will your Old Dominion University system travel?
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OLIVER. The typical operating speed would be about 45 miles an hour. It is about a mile long with a stop in the middle. It would be capable of about 60 or 70, and the demonstration phase of 120 miles an hour or greater.
Mr. CLEMENT. The Germans and the Japanese have demonstrated that their technology not only works, but also works at high speed. How long will it take you to demonstrate you can do that as well in the United States?
Mr. OLIVER. Sir, that is a function entirely of money. If we had enough money, we could do it in six months. One of the things that it is important to understand I think is that the whole field of technology has changed pretty dramatically over the last 10 or 15 years. As many of you all know serving in transportation backgrounds, the Federal Aviation Administration regularly certifies aircraft that have been designed and simulated on paper. The triple seven, for example, was certified within a few months after its original flight. And that is possible because we have today the simulation technology to do that work, and our team partners are among the most sophisticated in the world at that kind of activity.
So the answer to your question is, we have already done it on computers with a very high degree of fidelity. Reproducing the performance of a 300 mile an hour ground transportation system is actually not very complicated compared to doing mach3 airplanes we know about, maybe mach7 airplanes we do not know about, aviation examples, those kinds of things. So the only limitation on the speed that we can drive our vehicle to is really the funding to extend the track. We have a lease with Florida East Coast Railroad for a right-of-way that is seven miles long at Edgewater. We are only going to be using about a mile of that in the test phase for the ODU project, but we have the ability with the concrete slab that is already in place to go a full seven miles and to reach speeds of 300 miles an hour, which is the design speed highest and best use of the technology.
Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OLIVER. Thank you, sir.
Mr. MICA. The gentleman from California, Mr. Filner.
Mr. FILNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just briefly, and we talked about this I think when we were in Germany, but just for the record, it would seem to me that the commercial demonstration of maglev, because the German government is so invested in it, should happen in Germany, and yet we have not seen that. Why is that?
Mr. BRADY. Well, we totally agree with you. I think it is incumbent on a country that develops a technology to test it domestically first. As you may know from the briefing materials and from some other conversation we have had, the Germans had for a long time planned on connecting Berlin and Hamburg. That project was essentially abandoned when the operator of that system, which was under new management, decided to focus on rail infrastructure instead and was under a certain compunction from the EU, which wants to maintain an open rail infrastructure Europe-wide, not to pluck out one segment of a highly lucrative corridor and make it maglev so that other countries' trains could not run on it.
However, and I think the Congress should take some credit for what is going on in Germany now, after the demise of the Berlin-Hamburg project, the German Ministry of Transportation turned right around and created a German Maglev Deployment Program based pretty much on the U.S. model, which was that they solicited the German Federal States, they got responses, they evaluated the proposals, they did their down-select as they were scheduled to right on time last October the 15th, and they have narrowed their selections down to two projects: one which is an airport connector from the city of Munich to its airport; the other is called the Metrorapid project which is in the very densely populated Ruhr Valley and connects several population centers there. They are moving smartly ahead with that program and realize not only the utility of the technology they have developed for their own population's need, but also the wisdom of deploying this at home first to showcase to the rest of the world that this is a good project.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will also add that because the Chinese were far more aggressive about this, the likely first commercial application of the Transrapid will be from Shanghai City to Pudong Airport.
Mr. FILNER. And what is the timetable for that?
Mr. BRADY. I believe they have already started to drive piles, they have already cleared the route, they have already selected the alignment. They are very aggressive about this. They have created a beam production facility and I think that the first beams will probably be produced very soon. They want to have revenue service be open for business in 2003.
Mr. FILNER. 2003?
Mr. BRADY. Yes, sir.
Mr. FILNER. As someone, and I know this will be brought up by other colleagues, from the West, the two projects in competition are in the East. What do you see the prospects are for California and other western areas?
Mr. BRADY. We have had a number of relationships in the United States that are represented by several of these projects. As a matter of fact, when the seven projects were selected under the Maglev Deployment Program, six of those went out and actually did a technology assessment and selection where they looked at available maglev technologies. And if my figure is correct, all of those six chose us as their preferred technology supplier since then. So in a sense, all six of those projects, we are in there with all of them.
I might note that we have had a relationship with the American Magline Group in Las Vegas, mention was made of Mr. Cummings, General Atomics, other members of the American Magline Group, going on 15 years now. We have worked successfully to keep that project alive through different bumps in the road, shall we say. We have had a similar relationship in both Pittsburgh, with Maglev, Inc., over a decade, and in Baltimore-Washington also for a decade.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We were disappointed when the down select was only two. But we were told by then-Secretary Slater that the selection of the two was largely a function of money, that he could only fully fund two projects through the next phase. But we are extremely delighted for those two projects.
Mr. FILNER. I thank the Chairman.
Mr. MICA. The gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Borski.
Mr. BORSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Brady, Mr. Oliver, thank you for your testimony. It is nice to see you. I joined our Chairman and the Chairman of the full Committee on the demonstration ride in Germany and was, obviously, very impressed. And pretty much as Congressman Filner has suggested, I too am disappointed that the Germans did not build that connect between Hamburg and Berlin. I think we would probably see these systems all throughout the world had they done that.
I want to focus a little bit if I can on two itemsenergy and congestion. Energy is obviously a major concern now. What kind of energy does maglev use? Will we need to build any new power plants? Is it comparable to the energy we use in heavy rail now or automobiles or even aviation?
Mr. BRADY. I think I might ask our senior project engineer, Larry Blow, to give us a little help on this. But I will say that, as the video pointed out, one of the attributes of the system is that you only power a section of guideway at the time, only the one you are on, so you achieve efficiencies in energy consumption there. Second, and this is really an energy and environmental point, since you are purchasing electric power from a point source, to the extent that there are environmental consequences, those are much easy to control from one point than they are from vehicles that are constantly emitting something.
With regard to your specific question about the energy consumption, I think Larry could probably shed some light on that for you.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BLOW. Thank you. Congressman, when we do energy consumption
Mr. MICA. Could you identify yourself again for the record.
Mr. BLOW. Yes. My name is Larry Blow. I am the senior project manager for Transrapid International-USA, and I work with Chris in the Washington, D.C. office.
When we do comparisons of energy consumption, we typically compare our performance to traditional steel wheel-on-steel rail. And when we compare as closely as we can, the lengths and the capacities of the systems, we find that our energy consumption is somewhere between 10 and 20 percent less than let's say an inter-city express (ICE) train in Germany.
It is a little difficult to get exact comparisons. But if we had a constant speed of about 300 kilometers per hour or 190 miles an hour, our energy use for this speed, the phrase in the industry would be watt hours per passenger kilometer is on the order of 44 compared to 61 for a German ICE train. So in that range, we see that our power requirements typically end up being about 20 percent less.
Mr. OLIVER. Congressman, we have the advantage of having a major corporate stockholder that is a very large utility company, and we have here a representative that can answer some specific questions about generating capacity and usage and so forth.
I will add at the beginning that because our vehicle is lighter weight and because we use a different propulsion system, it is also significantly more energy efficient. And so the figures that we are talking about with respect to Transrapid that demonstrate energy efficiency advantages over rail and certainly over aircraft and even over personal automobiles are even more pronounced with this technology.
But with the specifics about what this does to the energy grid, here is the energy expert, Bob Burnette from Dominion Resources.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BURNETTE. Good morning. So far as the energy efficiency portion of magnetic levitation trains, I would agree with what Mr. Blow has indicated so far, so far as a 20 percent reduction in energy usage as far as maglev trains compared to other modes of transportation that would be comparable. So far as the building of power plants, my company already has a number of power plants on the books. We do not see this as a significant increase in energy usage. In fact, we see this as a significant step toward solving our country's energy problems so far as other modes of transportation are concerned.
Mr. MICA. Mr. Burnette, could you identify yourself again for the record.
Mr. BURNETTE. My name is Bob Burnette. I am one of the senior managers with Dominion Resources, a $29 million asset utility company located in Richmond, Virginia.
Mr. BORSKI. Mr. Chairman, I would like to follow up on congestion. I think that is a major concern to us in our country. Our rail systems, passenger, light rail, everything is crowded, the airspace is crowded, the highways are crowded. How do you see maglev competing for that, helping with that, easing that?
Mr. BRADY. I think it is an excellent question, Mr. Borski. In many ways I think it is a shame that we treat transportation as a zero-sum game. Maglev, in corridors where it makes sense, is absolutely complementary to other modes. To collect and distribute people on high-speed systems, you cannot just expect them to come some place in the middle of a field. So in an area where you already have an airport, where you have a metro system, where there are collector-distributor systems, it is absolutely not a zero-sum game. It is something where each additional element of your transportation plan raises the overall use of other transit modes.
Our system has probably got a niche somewhere between 40 to 300, maybe even a little bit further, 40 to 300 miles to really get the benefits of the full use of the technology, the speed and also to help alleviate, as Mr. Oberstar was saying, some of the airport congestion. We see that as a highly complementary thing as well. There is one other thing that I would like to point out, and that is because of the greater ability to accelerate and decelerate over shorter distances than traditional rail system, you can actually utilize the Transrapid maglev in certain commuter applications where otherwise a traditional high-speed system would not lend itself to commuter applications because it spends so much time and so much distance getting up to that high speed.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OLIVER. I would like to echo what Mr. Brady has said, except to say that one of the unique and exciting features of our technology is that its price point is so inexpensive that it is not only feasible but, indeed, it is our intent to market the technology both as a low-/medium-speed regional transit, commuter system and the like because we can produce an elevated high-speed, high-performance, low-cost automated system for less than the price of an ordinary light rail system in most instances. In fact, many of our team partners wish that we would focus even more heavily on the local systems because that is a desperate and tremendous need and one where funding already exists in many local communities and State governments.
So a big part of our effort is going to be to proposein fact, in Virginia, the concept is to provide regional and intra-city service as well as commuter systems and so forth throughout the State in a seamless mechanism where, at this pricing of technology, under $20 million a mile, potentially as little as $12 or $13 million a mile, you can be truly competitive to solve a whole range of transportation problems and it is cost-effective to do it.
Mr. MICA. The gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Cummings.
Mr. CUMMINGS OF MARYLAND. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I am just sitting here trying to put myself in the place of one of my constituents if they were looking at this. Now, help me now. I may have missed something. Mr. Oliver, you say $20 million per mile. Is that what you said?
Mr. OLIVER. Yes, sir, or less. That is correct.
Mr. CUMMINGS OF MARYLAND. And Mr. Brady, you are talking about $34 million or thereabout. And I have got these taxpayers who are saying, ''Congressman, why would you push for something that was $20 million per mile as opposed to the $34 million per mile, and are we getting the same thing?'' You understand? I am trying to figure out here from kind of a lay person's standpoint, are we talking about apples and apples or are we talking about oranges and apples? Maybe the other people here understand all this stuff. But I want to make sure I understand it because I am the one who has to deal with it. Are we talking about apples and apples or are we talking about apples and oranges? You first, Mr. Oliver.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OLIVER. On one level, it is apples to apples in the sense that we are talking about the same type of technology with the same performance or comparable performance characteristics. I am sure Mr. Brady would say, and we would certainly concede, that in another sense it is a little bit different because Mr. Brady has the advantage of a technology which has, as he mentioned, two decades worth of support from the German government, a very substantial test track, billions of dollars worth of investment. They have something you can go and ride at 300 miles an hour and we do not.
So the purpose of our testimony here this morning is not to try to bring those up on an equal level. We know that until you can come and ride our test facility, and until you can talk to our team partners, until you can see the invoices that prove to you that our cost projections are really accurate and really achievable, we are not going to hit that same level. So what we are trying to do is say stay tuned, be aware of this, because it is happening a lot faster than I think most of you were aware of and I think we are going to have that level of credibility in very short order. I would not sit here at this desk and tell you today that on the basis of a project contract and a plan and a facility that is under construction that I have the same level of credibility to match what Mr. Brady has available that is based on several decades and billions of dollars of support from a national government.
Mr. CUMMINGS OF MARYLAND. But I am not, and understand me
Mr. OLIVER. We are trying to catch up. We are almost there. Give us time.
Mr. CUMMINGS OF MARYLAND. The thing is, though, and you have to go back to what I said from the very beginning, the American people understand they are being taxed and most people do not mind being taxed but they want to make sure that their dollars are spent effectively and efficientlyeffectively and efficiently. So it is not just about the credibility of Mr. Brady's technology and all that.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When I hear that much of a difference, we are not talking about dollar bills, we are talking about millions and billions, so when you talk about your technology, Mr. Oliver, and, this is the reason I asked the question, that much of a difference could change the whole way we even approach maglev because at this rate we might be able to do maybe 10 or 15 of them.
Mr. OLIVER. Sir, I thank you very much for that, because you could not possibly be more on target for what we are talking about. We have the opportunity to dramatically change the economic equation, not only for high-speed transit in this country, but for regional and commuter systems and slower speed systems and the like. And, geez, whether we are right or we are wrong, is it not worth a little time and a little bit of extra money to find out? We are just that close and we have done most of the work ourselves already. So I appreciate your point. It is exactly why we are here.
The reason we have private sector investment partners in this project, big ones, these are Fortune 100 companies with cap values in the tens of billions of dollars, is because they believe this changes the economics. Instead of having to run around to Washington and ask you guys for enormous subsidies to accomplish projects, which they are realistic enough to understand is not likely to happen in the near future, they think this technology alone among the transportation options out there can be self-supporting, it can be profitable. We can go to the private markets and bid projects and get the funding from the private marketplace because we will know that these things can actually pay for themselves. And that is what we are all about. That is the entire focus.
If all I was doing here today was trying to sell you on a technology whose only distinction from the gentleman sitting next to me was an American flag on the side of it, I would have given up on it a long time ago. I would like to think we buy American, but that is not the point. The point is you have to dramatically change the economics; otherwise, I do not know that there is a future in the technology at all. We think we have made that change.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CUMMINGS OF MARYLAND. Mr. Brady?
Mr. BRADY. I think Mr. Oliver did a pretty good job in giving half my answer. Thank you. The one thing that I would say is if you decided to build a maglev project tomorrow, we can deliver a 310 mile an hour technology that has gone through all the testing, all the evaluation, certification, readiness, tomorrow. When we submitted our cost figures for the six projects in the Maglev Deployment Project we did it based on solid numbers, without huge contingencies. We have so much confidence in all that we have been through and the time that we have taken to do it and the fact that we are ready for deployment now that we agreed to basically absorb whatever our overruns might be on the technology side.
I am not sure that anybody else in the world today can make that claim. That is the benefit that time, testing, and study give you, in that you can deliver basically a fixed-price, guaranteed technology system that is reliable that you will stand behind. And if the Congress decides they want one, two, or ten, and whatever the success the legislation of TEA21 is, the Transrapid can be delivered and we will stand behind all of our figures and our reliability.
Mr. MICA. Thank you.
The Ranking Member of the full committee, Mr. Oberstar.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Again, I want to thank this panel for your presentation, for a very enlightening discussion.
Let me just quickly ask, for a hopefully brief answer, a question. A student group was sitting in the back of the room here listening to your presentation, they have left. I visited with them while you were talking, we were listening in the adjoining room. What are the safety systems built into this technology, they wanted to know. A good question to have on the record. Suppose you build this system in the Pittsburgh area and it snows, it sleets occasionally, and you have heavy rains, or you have a power failure, what are the safety systems built into this technology?
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BRADY. Well the Transrapid was designed and built with today's concerns in mind. Obviously, safety is right at the top of that list of concerns. With a dedicated guideway infrastructure, you are not sharing trackage with anyone else. With a vehicle that wraps around the guideway, you are not risking derailments in any way. The systems can be designed, as I am sure Dr. Gurney will tell you later about the Pittsburgh project, so that you can heat the top of the guideway if you have ice or snow. Typically, your first run of the day is with a vehicle that is checking out the guideway and making sure that it is free of obstruction. Our system, as I think the video pretty ably demonstrated, was built with safety in mindsafety, speed, and comfort. Everything else flows from that basic premise.
Mr. OBERSTAR. There is a heating element in the fixed guideway that melts potential ice or snow?
Mr. BRADY. No.
Mr. OBERSTAR. No?
Mr. BRADY. No. Which is not to say one cannot be designed into a system where that is an issue.
Mr. OBERSTAR. But would ice build-up on the guideway surface be a problem for conductivity?
Mr. BLOW. Congressman, there is an automatic or natural built-in resistance to the build-up of ice and snow. As you saw from the video, the vehicle actually carries a clearance over the top of the guideway on the order of six inches.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Yes, I understand.
Mr. BLOW. And the location for the ice and snow build-up to cause a problem would be along the horizontal guidance system reaction rails or underneath the guideway where the levitation magnets have to be attracted to the underside of the guideway. Both of those locations are remote in terms of the collection of ice and snow. So it would take an extreme condition to get ice and snow to the point where you cannot laterally guide the vehicle or levitate it.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OBERSTAR. OK. We do not need to spend a lot of time on that matter. The costs that you cited per mile for development, roughly $35 million a mile, are not greatly different from cost estimates developed by the General Accounting Office nine or ten years ago of roughly $30 million a mile. But do those costs include right-of-way acquisition?
Mr. BRADY. No, sir.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Do you have to acquire right-of-way? Can you acquire easements?
Mr. BRADY. Certainly, you can acquire easements. The other design element of the Transrapid is that it is comparatively low land consumption; meaning, that you have great flexibility in the right-of-way acquisition. The $34 million cited did not include right-of-way acquisition to the best of my knowledge. And in some cases where even traditional rail is being elevated, some companies now are just getting easements for just where the footprint of the actual pillar is. The same would be the case with respect to our system.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Oliver, is that the case for you?
Mr. OLIVER. Yes, sir. It is essentially the same answer. The economics of these systems depend in large partmost of the ridership is in the high density areas, and the high density areas tend to be the places where the land costs the most. So you really have to use existing corridors, whether it is a highway corridor, a rail corridor, or some other existing publicly owned or potentially privately owned corridor. And our technology is designed with that in mind.
We have a little bit of an advantage in that the much lighter weight of the vehicle and the much lighter structure enables us to have a single support column that is rather smaller that supports two guideways, one going in either direction, dedicated. And so our footprints are about five or five and a half feet in diameter. That enables you to squeeze in almost anywhere.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OBERSTAR. I notice in the presentation there is only one guideway. But if you are going to have an effective system, you have to have two-way systems, don't you, side-by-side?
Mr. BRADY. You can design a project for whatever you desire to achieve. The Berlin-Hamburg project was a double track guideway. At a certain point, they considered a single track guideway with passing lanes at stations and approaches to cities. The propulsion system is designed in such a way that no two vehicles can occupy the same segment of track at the same time. So as long as you design it and time it correctly, it is entirely possible to have a single track guideway with passing lanes that is totally controlled and still safe.
But I will go back and point out, you are correct, the Berlin-Hamburg costs per mile were $34 million per mile for a double-track guideway for the full 185-mile length of the system.
Mr. OBERSTAR. And about 70 to 80 percent of that is the guideway itself and the balance is the
Mr. BRADY. I would say closer to 70 than the 80 percent, because a large portion of the route, when you got out of Berlin and out of Hamburg, you went through the largely rural pastoral part of northern Germany where the system could have actually run at grade, albeit in a sealed corridor, but at grade which is a little bit cheaper.
Mr. OBERSTAR. One of the issues raised about the maglev technology compared to TGV is that for the equipment to operate at speeds of 300-plus miles an hour you have to have a very straight guideway system and right-of-way; that is, you cannot have very much of a deflection per mile travelled because of the speeds at which this equipment is operating. Is that still a problem?
Mr. BRADY. I would say that we are not dissimilar to any other guided transportation in that the straighter your alignment the better off you are. However, because of the speed capabilities and the acceleration capabilities, we can actually reach those speeds more comfortably safely and more quickly than comparable modes.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OBERSTAR. But that still means that you cannot have curves every few miles?
Mr. BRADY. That is correct.
Mr. OLIVER. Well, if you want to maintain a speed of 300 miles an hour, no, you really cannot because the vehicle has got to slow down. Actually, and I believe this is equally accurate for Transrapid, it is not the vehicle that is limited, it is the comfort of the passengers onboard. In theory, you could probably send an unmanned vehicle at 300 miles an hour around a curve if you designed it properly. But it is not
Mr. OBERSTAR. That would be terrific to do but it is not of much economic value.
Mr. OLIVER. No, sir. No passengers onboard does not do you a whole lot of good. But he is also correct in that one of the advantages of a maglev technology is that the very fast deceleration and acceleration capability means that you can, much more so than a train, slow going into a curve and then coming out of the curve get right back up to the maximum speed much, much more quickly than you ever could with a train, and I mean dramatically more quickly than with a train. So it enables you to achieve what we call relatively high average speeds.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Oliver, you have allied yourself with Lockheed-Martin. But to the best of my knowledge, they have not built a significantly long test track. Japan, when our committee toured in 1997, has a 25-mile track now. The German test track is on the order of 12 or 15 miles. Why don't they build something
Mr. OLIVER. Congressman Oberstar, I appreciate that comment. And the reason is that the Japanese government paid over a billion dollars for that track, and in Germany, it is kind of difficult to figure out exactly
Mr. OBERSTAR. Actually, more than that. The billion dollars was what they added incrementally for the current additional 12 miles.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OLIVER. And also the German government has been commendably supportive of the Transrapid development for decades as well. What we have had to accomplish we have done with no Federal dollars from any Federal Government. We have done it just with private sector investment and the like. We are working our way up to trying to correct that as we go. But you guys can help.
Mr. OBERSTAR. I heard your comments earlier about patting yourself on the back and doing this with private sector dollars. Do not be afraid to inhale or exhale with a Federal grant, there is nothing wrong with it.
Mr. OLIVER. Oh, we would very much like to have one.
Mr. OBERSTAR. The point of making dollars available in TEA21 was to nurture this technology along. I think it is vitally important for us with our highly congested hub aviation centers to develop high-speed, 200300 mile ground transportation systems. And as the author of that language in ISTEA and TEA21, I am disappointed we have not yet got a commercially operating segment in the United States. I want to do all I can to encourage this to become reality.
We are going to need your help and your support and a large dose of public investment dollars to get these projects underway and demonstrate that the technology can work. That is the role of the Federal Government to take the kind of risk that the private sector cannot or prudently should not. Once we get this technology launched, then if it can operate as the U.S. rail system has done, that is fine. But remember, even our freight railroads got launched with a huge dose of Federal land grant support. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. QUINN [PRESIDING]. Thank you, Mr. Oberstar. And I want to thank Mr. Mica for filling in here for me this morning. I had a meeting with our Secretary of Labor for the last hour and a-half and I am working on some railroad matters, as a matter of fact.
I think Mr. Nadler is next. Jerry?
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. NADLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Oliver, and let me say I have been very impressed with what you said and what I have read of this before. But as I understand it, we are really dealing with two different technologies here, not one maglev technology, but two very different technologies, one of which is about 30 years old, the other of which is a couple years old. Now in the briefing paper from the Chairman of the subcommittee, I read that the Federal DOT has selected two projects, one in Pittsburgh and one from Baltimore to Washington, for a test of maglev technology. And it says that project sponsors are working with Transrapid.
Now, either this brand new technology works and has all the advantages that you have said, or it does not. If it does, we should not find ourselves investing in 1930 and the latest dirigible technology before the airplane comes along. If it does not work, obviously the dirigible may be the best way to go.
So my question is, are you working with DOT for a demonstration so that when TEA21 reauthorization comes along we may have some indication of which path to go to?
Mr. OLIVER. No, sir, not specifically at this time. We are sensitive to the idea that the National Maglev Initiative has been a project underway now for several years, that the team partners, the local partners, the cities, the communities, the States have developed long-standing relationships, and we understand that it is both impractical and inadvisable to try to interfere in any of those relationships. So we
Mr. NADLER. But let me say, the one thing I do not want to see happen is to be sitting here two years from now and have Mr. Brady say we have got a wonderful proven technology and you really ought to invest a lot of money in it, and have you sitting there and saying, well yes, but our technology is much, much better but we have no evidence to show why you should go our way, and we are sitting here wondering what to do. We would not want to put a lot of money into a technology that is about to be outmoded. On the other hand, we would have to see some evidence that your technology really works as safely, economically, et cetera.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So what is going to happen between now and two years from now so that when we are sitting here two years from now will have adequate information on which to say, well, nice try, but we are going to go with Transrapid, or no, no, you have got the better bet for the Government?
Mr. OLIVER. Well, there are two answers to that question. One is that we are well underway to trying to provide that evidence. And the project that I have described at ODU is already fully funded. We will accomplish that
Mr. NADLER. But that is, what, about a mile in length?
Mr. OLIVER. It is about a mile in length and the test facility in Florida will be approximately the same length and drive the speeds to over 120 miles an hour, which is not, by the way, an accident in that the high-speed rail amendment to the Florida Constitution requires a speed of 120 miles an hour or greater. So that is sort of a critical milestone from our perspective.
The larger answer to the question about even higher speeds and bigger performance depends on a lot of variables, including, among other things, the support of the Congress, this committee, and DOT. It is our hope that you will understand the wisdom and that the DOT will understand the wisdom of hedging your bets. Proceed with the National Maglev Initiative. We do not want to even suggest the potential for replacing a technology or interfering in that program; it has been underway too long, there are too many difficulties with that, it is just not appropriate. But there is no reason why for a little extra money you cannot run a parallel track and look at other opportunities for other programs, follow-on programs
Mr. NADLER. You do not mean literally a parallel track. You mean figuratively a parallel track, correct?
Mr. OLIVER. Both of them are nice illusions, so take your pick. But, yes, that is correct.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. NADLER. Then let me ask you this. I chaired hearings on maglev of the New York State Assembly committee in 1989. Our conclusion then was that it was just too expensive, there were not any corridors in the United States, with the possible exception of one I think near Orlando, that would have the density of travel to justify the capital expenditure or the investment.
Let me ask Mr. Brady, assuming that Mr. Oliver's technology does not work and that your technology is the way to go, and given the costs, why should we not come to the same conclusion that for $50 million a mile it is simply not worth the investment. Not that it is just not worth the investment, but that the density of traffic would simply not support it.
Mr. BRADY. First of all, we wish Mr. Oliver well. I would not ever want to guess that his technology will not work at some point in the future. But I will say also that at about the same time you were referring to your New York State Assembly service the U.S. Congress passed ISTEA which had a U.S. Maglev Prototype Development Program in it which began with an assessment of what other maglev systems were available, worth while, and whether, based on new designs submitted by U.S. industry and entrepreneurs, whether it was worth the country's money to go and duplicate what had been done abroad. I think a short reading, probably a little critical reading of the NMI would suggest that the conclusion was arrived at that the existing Transrapid technology costs could be brought down, it could be applied in the United States in a way where the U.S. did not need to go back to where they were in the 1960's and 1970's and pick up maglev development again.
Since that point in time, we have had extensive experience with planning, costing, improving this technology such that when Congress looked to reauthorize ISTEA in 199798, as Mr. Oberstar was saying, it was let's stop studying. That is why you have a Maglev Deployment Program. I submit that based on the Commercial Feasibility Study performed by the DOT which said that these systems could be deployed in the United States free of subsidy and able to pay back the capital investment
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. NADLER. At $50 million a mile?
Mr. BRADY. No, sir. Right now, our best cost for the Berlin-Hamburg project, which are the most refined planned that we have, were about $34 million a mile.
Mr. QUINN. Excuse me, Mr. Brady. Mr. Nadler, excuse me. Your time is up for this round of questioning. We will be called to the floor for a vote in a few minutes and I wanted to give Mr. Mascara and Mr. Larsen a chance to get at least one question in to this panel.
Mr. NADLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. QUINN. Mr. Mascara.
Mr. MASCARA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Oliver, I was most impressed with your testimony regarding the per-mile cost of $20 million. I read other testimony where it was $40 million a mile and that is double the amount that you quoted. As a former accountant and businessman, I always question. My father told me that when someone offered you a suit with two pair of pants, be careful, you might burn a hole in the coat. I am always concerned about numbers and I generally question.
You are speaking about technology that is running in Florida. I would hope to have an opportunity to see that technology since I was in Germany and saw the maglev technology there. The terrain and weather are a lot different in Florida than it is in Pittsburgh. Some numbers that I saw in other testimony was that it took about five thousand tons of steel per mile and about six thousand cubic yards of concrete to develop the technology that we are talking about with Transrapid. You have a lighter vehicle, and you are not going to invest the 70 percent that they are investing in the infrastructure, and you are going to ride it 40 miles an hour in Virginia.
How am I going to feel safe on your vehicle? How many tons of steel does it take to develop your technology for the guideway per mile?
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OLIVER. I do not know the specific number. It is still a very substantial amount of steel. We will be, if we were to build a nationwide network, undoubtedly the best customer of U.S. steel in the country. We are not talking about reducing that very, very dramatically. The overall structure is about half the price because the vehicle weighs about 30 to 40 percent less. But still a lot of steel.
Mr. MASCARA. And how about the concrete? They are using about six thousand cubic yards per mile.
Mr. OLIVER. Tony, do you know the exact figures on the concrete and steel? We will be happy to give you a copy of the estimates and the figures. I expect it is also a significant number but not quite as much. We do spend the same 70 percent of our total system cost is in the guideway, it is just that that 70 percent is a much lower price overall.
Mr. MASCARA. I love the competition. I am not here to make a point for either side. I am just using logic.
Mr. OLIVER. I understand.
Mr. MASCARA. I am concerned when your cost is half as much as Transrapid's might be. How much did you say, $34 million in yours. I read in somebody's testimony about $40 million per mile. That makes me nervous when you look at $20 million to $40 million.
Mr. OLIVER. Sure. We can show you, if you have the accountants and if you are one, we would be delighted to come and calculate out for you the dollars and the steel we have bid. As part of our company, in addition to having a utility company and an aerospace company, our background is in civil engineering and construction. So we can bring you bid documents, we can show you contractors that are willing to produce the beams, we can show you different soil conditions that account for changes in terrain, and so forth. I think that we can satisfy you and even the pickiest accountant that these numbers are really legitimate.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MASCARA. Has your test track in Florida taken into consideration the four seasons that we have in other parts of the country as opposed to Florida?
Mr. OLIVER. Yes. The $20 million a mile is not a Florida number. It is a generic number. In fact, the number would probably be considerably lower in Florida. What we are trying to do is come up with a general estimate. And that depends on soil conditions, if you are going through a swamp, obviously, the soil conditions are very difficult, and that figure goes up. But we do understand that when you are talking about national pricing and you are talking about being competitive in the United States, you have to allow for different soil conditions, different terrain conditions, and also weather, and we have done that, we have taken that into consideration.
Mr. MASCARA. I was also impressed with your statement that you did not use any Federal dollars.
Mr. OLIVER. Not yet. Not for lack of trying.
Mr. MASCARA. Had I been preparing your testimony, I would have withheld that portion of it because the second time you mentioned it you got the hair up on the back of Jim Oberstar.
Mr. OLIVER. I am now realizing my mistake, Congressman.
Mr. MASCARA. Because this Government, while we are spending taxpayer's dollars, it is for good technology, it is for making a better life for the American people, and I do not think we should have to apologize for investing in this type of technology. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. QUINN. Thank you, Mr. Mascara.
Mr. LARSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Just really one question. This is sort of changing the focus from the $20 million versus $34 million versus $40 million, whatever it is per mile, to thinking about the competition, if you will. The idea of maglev is to move people quickly on relatively shorter routes. You are perhaps competing with airlines. Are the numbers that you have looked at, and I do not know what they would be, would they be cost per revenue or cost per passenger between industries? Have you looked at those kind of numbers? We are not doing maglev any time soon in the Northwest, we are trying to do some other things with rail up there. But have you looked at those kinds of numbers to help maybe look at one system versus the other system to see how maglev would compete with other forms of getting around?
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OLIVER. Sure. By the way, it is a terrific question because one of our team partners is Delta Airlines and there is a lot of talk in the maglev business about whether or not the airlines might feel threatened by this kind of thing. Our experience has been that most of them understand that they need a complement to their long distance service. Airlines are more efficient when they fly more than 300 or 500 miles, the cost per passenger is lower and the like. So this is highly complementary I think, our technology and any other for that matter.
And, yes, we have looked specifically at the dollars. The concept that we have outlined in Virginia is the idea that you are going as fast as an airplane with the convenience of an automobile at the price of driving yourself. So, for example, a round trip ticket from Washington, D.C. to Norfolk would be on the order of about $99, back and forth, and that compares very favorably to the cost of flying and favorably even to the cost of driving. And those are the kinds of economics, by the way, that generate the ridership that enable you, in turn, to pay for a system because you really boost the revenues significantly.
Mr. BRADY. The one thing that I would like to say is that for the most part we compare ourselves to other ground transportation when we are looking at total costs over the lifespan of a system, what your total investment costs are. And what I think is true of any maglev system that does not employ any friction or contact is while the up-front cost of investing in the actual corridor may roughly approximate what it is for rail or some other guided ground transportation, the fact that you have a frictionless system over time gives you such a significant operation and maintenance advantage that the life-cycle cost of that investment is much, much better from the public standpoint.
From comparison to other modes of transportation, we generally try to look at this from the consumer's point of view, which is not necessarily the cost that is just apples to apples, an airplane versus taking the Transrapid, but it is really point-to-point delivery of people. There is a very effective shuttle service from here to New York, it flies all the time, a couple times an hour I think, but you have to get to an airport, you have to sit at the airport, you have to take off from the airport and you might circle around LaGuardia a little while, I am not sure, you have to stand in the taxi queue to get to Midtown, compared to running something from Union Station into Penn Station or Grand Central where you are right there. So you have just saved the traveller a significant amount of time for the same price that you would probably charge for that airplane but without all the other costs that are added on to it when you try to connect those same two dots.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LARSEN. If I may just follow up with that. One of the assumptions, and perhaps you may have looked at that, but one of the assumptions that goes into that is that we make assumptions in transportation planning that people actually realize what their cost of driving their car is. And people do not realize those costs. How do you incorporate that into your model to make sure that the reality is people will incorporate the costs of getting from one place to another by car or by airplane so they can make that comparison for your project?
Mr. BRADY. Right. That is an excellent question. In fact, that was one of the key deliverables that these seven projects that were participating in the Maglev Deployment Program had to submit to the Federal Railroad Administration last June 30. So I think that when you hear from the projects themselves later, you will hear spokespeople for these projects who are representative of a huge team of ridership analysts and investment analysts who have gone out and actually surveyed the public and said what does it take to get you out of your car that you like so much, where are the price points for these. I think it might be better for the projects to give you an example of how they have worked with those ridership analysts because we are technology subcontractors to those guys.
Mr. LARSEN. And I tell folks I am not an expert, I am a Congressman.
Mr. LARSEN. So I understand what you are saying. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. QUINN. Thank you, Mr. Larsen.
I would like to thank all the members on the first panel for your patience and your understanding in these questions. I think at this point in time we will relieve the first panel and ask Mr. Lindsey, our second panel, to come forward.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OLIVER. Thank you very much.
Mr. BRADY. Thanks.
Mr. QUINN. Good afternoon, Mr. Lindsey. How are you? Good to see you again. Thanks for your recent visit to Buffalo, New York. We ordered good weather for you.
We are going to try, as we have said so many times before, to ask for your testimony to be limited to about five minutes or so. We have received the written document so it becomes part of this hearing record. I think we can have you make your five minute statement before we get called away to a vote. So I would like to give you that opportunity right now.
TESTIMONY OF S. MARK LINDSEY, ACTING DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR, FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION, ACCOMPANIED BY MARK YACHMETZ, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR RAILROAD DEVELOPMENT, AND ARRIGO MONGINI, DEPUTY ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR RAILROAD DEVELOPMENT
Mr. LINDSEY. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, and thank you very much. With me today are Mark Yachmetz, who is the Associate Administrator for Railroad Development, and Arrigo Mongini, his Deputy, both of whom have worked on maglev issues for a long time, as have I. Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to represent the Department of Transportation today to discuss maglev with you.
This is a very exciting technology that we at the FRA certainly enjoy working on. It is a fundamentally new form of transportation technology, one invented here in the United States some time back, as Mr. Oberstar referred to, and then developed further overseas. This is as innovative as aviation was a century ago. It is very interesting to watch its development, and we are delighted to participate in it.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Looking at maglev, the key is focusing on its potential and how to realize that potential. There is certainly the possibility here, as you have heard already today, of a new form of transportation that might be very economically efficient over its full life-cycle. But the initial capital cost is pretty substantial, and answering the questions about whether or not that ultimate life-cycle cost is going to be realized after that large capital investment in the first place is a question that we are trying hard to answer in the current demonstration program. That seems to be a very good way to go about answering that question and to address the issues of how to move from seeing this very substantial potential to how we can realize that potential and make it work for the American people in a very cost-effective and safe way.
As with any new transportation facility, we are having to look at those cost issues. We are having to look at environmental issues. As you know, and as has been referred to earlier here today, we have done an environmental impact statement looking at the program we have currently underway, a very novel environmental impact statement. It is unusual to evaluate seven different programs altogether, but that is what we have been engaged in.
Working on maglev altogether is a point of pride at the Federal Railroad Administration. We very much like being the lead Federal agency examining this technology. We have folk at the agency who have been working on maglev for just about as long as the technology has existed. We are excited about it. We like doing it. Some of our people began in the Office of High-Speed Ground Transportation before the Department of Transportation was formed. Others became involved in the early 1990's when we formed a partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Energy for the National Maglev Initiative. Still others became involved when, under ISTEA, Congress directed us to work with a project in Florida to develop a maglev implementation down there.
That was the first time we took a really intensive look at the safety of one of these systems. We were engaged there in developing a rule of particular applicability that, had that system attained sufficient private sector funding and gone forward, would have governed the safety of that system. That was a system that would have embodied the Transrapid of its day and that forms a very substantial foundation for looking at the safety of current generation Transrapid. And as things move along, we will be picking up that work to make it current.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have entered into an agreement with Germany to share safety information back and forth so that they will be sharing with us the safety information they are developing in certifying the Transrapid for use in Germany, and we will be sharing with them the safety work that we are doing for the application of Transrapid in the United States.
On that base of knowledge that we had developed previously, when you passed TEA21 we were really ready to move along and develop that program for you. And we have been very pleased to pursue that very vigorously. Under TEA21, we are authorized to provide two-thirds of the cost of a final maglev project designed to demonstrate the utility of that technology in the United States. We have engaged in a very substantial competition inviting all comers to come forward and to propose systems. We got eleven responses initially, those were narrowed to seven, and now to two. In reaching those, we applied the criteria for decision that you set forth for us in TEA21. It was just last January that Secretary Slater determined that two projects, the one in Pittsburgh and the one between Baltimore and Washington, were the two that he felt best satisfied the criteria that you had set out in TEA21. It is those two projects that are now proceeding forward.
You had identified in last year's appropriations bill some funding for all of the programs to finish their planning. We have made grants of almost $900,000 to the five projects not selected in order to wrap up their projects in such a way that, under other circumstances, they might go forward outside this program. The two remaining ones will get approximately $10.7 million each to bring themselves to the place where it will be possible to select one project to go forward to construction. And that is proceeding apace. And I think I am out of time, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. QUINN. You are out of time, Mr. Lindsey.
We have just been called to a vote. So if it is OK with the rest of the subcommittee, I would like for us to just quickly recess for a few moments, it is only one vote, we should be back here in about fifteen minutes, and then we will begin this panel questioning. Thank you very much.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Recess.]
Mr. QUINN. Thank you, Mr. Lindsey, and others at the table, as well as our guests here this afternoon for your patience. We have about an hour or so before the next vote, so we should be able to get on with the rest of the hearing, hopefully, and get ourselves almost finished.
I am pleased to have Mr. Mascara joining me up here, as well as everybody who is with us here to talk about this.
I just wanted to get just a quick question, Mr. Lindsey, before I yield to Mr. Mascara. Mr. Brady testified that about two-thirds of the costs of the maglev project is in infrastructure costspillars, beams, and so on and so forth. Is that close in your estimation, about two-thirds for infrastructure?
Mr. LINDSEY. Yes, sir, I think that is fair.
Mr. QUINN. Pretty accurate. OK.
Mr. MASCARA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am honored to sit in the Ranking Member's seat here. I have been elevated for a few moments till Mr. Clement gets back.
Welcome, Mr. Lindsey. I had an opportunity to read some of your testimony. Specifically, I am referring to the first page where you spoke about the maglev has yet to enter into commercial service, let alone demonstrate that it can compete economically with existing forms of transportation. When I read that and when you gave your testimony, I said to myself, ''I wonder what they said back when the automobile, and the railroads, and air travel, and all those modes of transportation first came to the fore, what some of those people said then.''
Perhaps we need to look at our energy problem in this country. It is my understanding, and I am not an expert on maglev, while I visited Lathen, Germany, and sat at the controls and visited the operation rooms, that maybe it is time now that we be futuristic and look into the future. Our natural resources are not finite and we need to look at other modes of transportation to relieve the congestion at our airports, the congestion on our highways. Certainly, this mode of transportation would do some of that. I just wonder whether you had some feelings about my remarks or my comments about the futuristic potential for magnetic levitation.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LINDSEY. Well, I agree with you on the potential, Congressman, very strongly, and I think my colleagues do too. The test is whether or not we can realize that potential.
Mr. MASCARA. In talking earlier about the cost per mile, one gentleman said it cost half of what the cost estimates are today, $20 million as opposed to $40 million. I recall in Pittsburgh on 279 the cost there was $37 million a mile. So I cannot understand why people would be concerned about these costs, and that was 17 years ago. So it seems to me we have to put into perspective the costs that we are talking about here and the potential.
You also spoke about the environment. Everything that I have heard, environmentally this is a sound technology.
Mr. LINDSEY. Well, we think so.
Mr. MASCARA. You think so.
Mr. LINDSEY. We want to prove it.
Mr. MASCARA. Let me get to something more specific. Is maglev fundamentally an intracity mode of transportation? If so, why were the demonstration projects limited to relatively short distances?
Mr. LINDSEY. I think the amount of money available, Congressman.
Mr. MASCARA. All right. You offer an interesting historical perspective of FRA's involvement in maglev technology, but you do not explain why the agency basically abandoned the maglev technology in 1975. Can you explain that decision to do that?
Mr. LINDSEY. I am not sure I can. That one may be one I should supply for the record, because I have a feeling the explanation that I might dredge out of memory here might not be real accurate. If I may, I would like to supply that one for the record.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MASCARA. Thank you.
Mr. QUINN. Mr. Lindsey, let us officially, on Mr. Mascara's behalf and the full subcommittee, ask that you respond to the gentleman's question in writing to the subcommittee, and we will expect it when you have enough time. Is that OK, Mr. Mascara?
Mr. MASCARA. Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The information received follows:]
In the 1970's the Federal Government decided, in the context of developing budgets for transportation activities, that research on maglev and other unconventional forms of ground transportation should be cut back or eliminated in favor of expenditures on more current issues and problems involving railroads. In particular, a decision was made to invest in incrementally higher speed rail through reconstruction of the Northeast Corridor and, at the same time, to inject massive funds into the freight railroads of the Northeast and, to lesser extent, the Midwest. Meanwhile, FRA's research focus shifted from futuristic high speed ground transportation and passenger systems to incremental improvements in technology and freight systems. Limited efforts were devoted to monitoring high speed developments in other countries.
Mr. QUINN. Just while you are preparing that note, we have heard a lot in the first panel, and I know I missed the first half but did have a chance to look at the testimony, about costs, and then we have also had some questions that surfaced about I call it the ''bang for the buck'' theory here. At some point in time, the Government or we will have to decide where we are. When FRA reviews these demonstration projects for all kinds of reasons, environmental, safetythat is another questionbut all kinds of reasons, does that work into your formula some way, we are talking about acquisition and right-of-way, all of those things, is all that included in some sort of formula when the FRA looks at this?
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LINDSEY. We are certainly looking at all of it, Mr. Chairman. Yes, we are looking at the cost for each project. That is certainly part of evaluating the feasibility of a particular proposal. Does the cost look sound, does it look like between the money the Federal Government is supplying, and the private sector, and any State or local contribution that we are going to be able to pay those costs. So, yes, we have looked at all of those. We have looked at ridership numbers, at anticipated revenue from those riders. We have tried to be very thorough in looking at that, as we would in evaluating any passenger transportation system, trying to cover all of those.
Mr. QUINN. Sure. And it just cannot be at the end of the day, at least in my opinion, simply money. And I guess that is what I am getting at, that all of that has to be factored in there somewhere at some time.
Mr. LINDSEY. Yes, sir.
Mr. QUINN. And lastly, at least from my perspective, I am going to give Ms. Berkley an opportunity to question when I am finished here, but just one last question, and I do not know if we are there yet and I am not going to ask you to go on the record with your plans, but it is the whole issue FRA and its safety concerns and what you already do in terms of rail safety. What is the FRA's situation in terms of safety authority here when we are talking about maglev?
Mr. LINDSEY. We have jurisdiction over it. That is clear in the statute.
Mr. QUINN. It is clear?
Mr. LINDSEY. Yes, sir. No problem there. And we would have to make a choice in going forward to actually build one whether we do a rule of particular applicability simply governing that project, as we were going to do in Florida, or whether we think we know enough now to do one of general applicability that would cover any sort of maglev that would be done in the country. My own guess at the moment is that we are probably still in the place where rule of a particular applicability would be the right answer.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. QUINN. OK. Thank you. I know you hate to pick one side or the other, but I appreciate your candor. That is where I thought you were going to be headed.
Ms. Berkley, do you have a question of the panel?
Ms. BERKLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Good afternoon, Mr. Lindsey.
Mr. LINDSEY. Good afternoon.
Ms. BERKLEY. When Mr. Brady testified he said that the cost per mile depends on the mile. And I would like to draw your attention to the Vegas-Anaheim project, with the flat terrain and the fact that the right-of-way was in I15 corridor, ideal physical conditions, minimal environmental impact, potential for very high ridership, and no snow, no sleet, no ice in that area. If cost is a factor, and I believe it was, can you tell me why the selection of the demonstration projectsis it not true that the Las Vegas to Primm demonstration project was the least costly?
Mr. LINDSEY. Yes, I think it is true that it was the least costly.
Ms. BERKLEY. That is very good to know. Because if cost-effectiveness is one of the determinations of which project would be selected, I am at a loss as to why the Las Vegas-Primm project was not selected as the demonstration project.
Mr. LINDSEY. There were many criteria set out in the statute of which that was only one. The way the projects were evaluated was against each one of the statutory criteria. As I remember, the Las Vegas project came out fairly strongly in about four of the ten criteria, but not so strongly in some others. It ended up being a comparison among different projects and the Secretary ended up picking the two that he thought were the strongest on all ten.
Ms. BERKLEY. Let me share with you one of the criteria. Is it true that when evaluating the ridership estimates of various maglev projects, tourists were weighed less than regular business commuters? And if this is the case, this seems to contradict one of the goals of the demonstration project to expose the maglev technology to a maximum number of people. Now if southern California has 9 million people that regularly come to Las Vegas, and Las Vegas has a potential of 36 or 38 million visitors a year, plus the 1.4 million people that live in the Las Vegas Valley, it would seem to me that the ridership should have been evaluated rather high, but not if you do not give full points or evaluation criteria to tourists.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LINDSEY. I do not think there was any difference drawn in that respect between tourists and business people, though I will check with my colleagues on that in a second. A place where there was a difference drawn was on whether or not a project presented a real transportation purpose; that is, people who really wanted to go from point A to point B for some reason other than riding the vehicle. And one of the problems presented by Las Vegas to Primm is that it looked like a lot of the ridership cited would be simply for the purpose of getting a maglev ride, not really to getting from Las Vegas to Primm or vice versa.
Ms. BERKLEY. Well would not the ultimate goal be the Las Vegas to southern California, Anaheim area and this was just a demonstration as part of the way there, but the ultimate goal would be between those two points?
Mr. LINDSEY. The projects were not really evaluated based on their ridership for the ultimate corridors on any of them. They were based on the demonstration corridors presented now. And you are right that an Anaheim to Las Vegas project is dramatically different in that regard from Las Vegas to Primm.
Ms. BERKLEY. What would be the point of having a demonstration project if that was all you were evaluating at that moment? Would it not make better sense to evaluate the ultimate goal and the ultimate destination?
Mr. LINDSEY. Well, we did not think so because, depending upon how the demonstration works out, one might or might not build the ultimate longer corridor. So that for the demonstration purposes now, it was thought to be desirable to get the best test possible of the short corridors to see what could be done there and, in this regard of having a real transportation purpose of going one place to the other, you get a valid test of when people have a modal choice going between a couple of points, are they going to choose this one or choose another. And if their only purpose was just to ride the vehicle, you do not get that test.
Ms. BERKLEY. I see. And could you give me, if you do not have the information right now, could you give me the difference in the costs between the Las Vegas-Primm demonstration and the others that were ultimately selected?
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LINDSEY. Sure. I think we can supply that for the record, and we will be happy to do so.
Ms. BERKLEY. I would imagine that it would be demonstrably less, dramatically less.
[The information received follows:]
The latest cost estimates provided by the maglev project sponsors are as follows:
Las Vegas to Primm: $1.6 billion (35 miles)
Baltimore to Washington $3.9 billion (40 miles)
Pittsburgh Airport to Greensburg $3.3 billion (47 miles)
The significantly lower cost of the Las Vegas to Primm project is due in part to shorter distance, less urbanization along the proposed route, and the fact that it involves only a single guideway along the entire route, while the Baltimore project has a dual guideway and the Pittsburgh project has a primarily dual guideway with a single guideway over only one short section.
Ms. BERKLEY. One more quick question, if I may, Mr. Chairman. I am assuming that you evaluated the AMT technology. Can you tell me how close it is to deployment vis a vis the Transrapid that currently exists?
Mr. LINDSEY. We have not evaluated it recently. I think the last time that we looked at it was a couple of years ago and it did not then seem to be very close. From what we heard today, it sounds like it has changed quite a lot in that time. We will be glad to come up to speed on it, but have not done so.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But let me check. Mark, do you have different information?
Mr. YACHMETZ. Nothing recently.
Ms. BERKLEY. Other than the testimony that you heard today, is there any other information you have as to whether it is ready to be deployed as opposed to Transrapid that could be deployed tomorrow if we so decided?
Mr. LINDSEY. Well, as I understand it, when a group of our engineers went to Florida to look at the project a couple of years ago, at that time it did not work.
Ms. BERKLEY. OK. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. QUINN. Thank you, Ms. Berkley.
Mr. MASCARA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to follow up on a question by the Chairman regarding governing the safety of railroad operations and, more specifically, would those regulations apply to the maglev operations? And would the FRA apply the same standards such as those relating to crash worthiness to maglev as it applies to Acela?
Mr. LINDSEY. Not quite, Congressman. I think in a rule of particular applicability to maglev, or in a general one if we did it, they would be very particular to maglev. With regard to crash worthiness, for example, what we would have to worry about would be what would happen with the vehicle if it collided with another like it because, unlike Acela, it would not be in an environment where it might hit a conventional freight locomotive, so you are not presented with the same risk there. The risk we would want to look at would be what if, despite all the safety systems, two of the maglev vehicles got together, and then look at risks like other objects getting on the right-of-way.
We have had instances, for example, where people have dangled cinder blocks in front of trains on the Northeast corridor. We would certainly want to evaluate what would happen if someone were to dangle a cinder block in front of a maglev train, or push a refrigerator off of an overpass, or an old car off of an overpass onto the right-of-way ahead of a maglev vehicle. We have had people do those sorts of things with conventional rail.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MASCARA. So while there are similar situations regarding safety to the rail, you would have that same situation with maglev but you still would have to develop some new rules regarding safety as it relates to maglev technology?
Mr. LINDSEY. Yes, sir. And a decade ago when we were looking at the Florida project, we had gotten pretty close to having a draft rule ready to issue. And so we have a very good foundation to pick up from there. At that time, we were looking at Transrapid technology that was probably a couple of generations back from what you were hearing about this morning, but that is still a very substantial running start on putting out a rule.
Mr. MASCARA. Good. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. QUINN. Thank you, Mr. Mascara. Good question.
Ms. Berkley, any more for this panel?
Ms. BERKLEY. I have no more questions at this time.
Mr. QUINN. OK. Good.
Mr. Lindsey and your associates, thanks very much. We appreciate your testimony and will release you now.
Mr. LINDSEY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. QUINN. We now ask our third panel to come to the table.
Good afternoon, gentlemen. How are you. Good to see all of you here. Thanks for your patience with our schedule. We are checking now, but we are told we should have close to about an hour for us to get some discussion here. We have received your testimony in full. We are going to ask you that you help us in that regard to try to keep your oral comments to about five minutes if you can, and that is what the clocks on the table are for.
Dr. Gurney, we are going to begin with you and work this side of the table across. I know that Mr. Haines is with you as well to add anything if we need some technical questions. Mr. Barrows, Mr. Cummings, Mr. Alkhatib are also with us. So we are going to let you begin, Fred, and we will give you about five minutes.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTESTIMONY OF DR. FRED J. GURNEY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, MAGLEV, INC., ACCOMPANIED BY BRUCE HAINES, VICE PRESIDENT, TECHNOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT SERVICES, U.S. STEEL GROUP; BRUCE BARROWS, VICE CHAIRMAN, MAGLEV TASK FORCE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENTS, AND MAYOR PRO-TEM, CERRITOS, CALIFORNIA; M. NEIL CUMMINGS, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN MAGLINE GROUP., LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA; AND SUHAIR ALKHATIB, PROJECT MANAGER, BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON MAGLEV PROJECT, AND PRINCIPAL ENGINEER, OFFICE OF PLANNING, MARYLAND MASS TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION
Dr. GURNEY. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, thank you for giving us the opportunity to testify here today. And as you suggested, Mr. Chairman, we have already submitted our written statement, so I would just like to summarize and make sure that we just hit the high points of what we think is important, and specifically to the Pennsylvania project.
Mr. Chairman, as I begin my remarks, we are going to have a video which would be without sound which illustrates I think some of the parts of where we are going with the Pennsylvania project. We have a 47-mile project that we are putting together so illustrated on the video that you are seeing in the background. Some of the points that you will see is a simulation of that 47-mile route as it applies to the Pennsylvania project in the United States. That route goes from the number one rated airport in the United States, the Pittsburgh airport going down to downtown Pittsburgh and then on out to the eastern suburbs of Monroeville and Greensburg.
The alignment options that we are looking at are also illustrated on the video. We are looking at three different options going from stop to stop as we are going through the entire corridor.
Also, you will be seeing our vision for the expansion. We heard a lot today about the initial lines, and it is important that we have an initial line, but the initial line is part of it. We do see the expansion across the country, and particularly in southwestern Pennsylvania we see ourselves as an ideal hub connecting those large cities along the Atlantic seaboard with those large cities of the midwest. We are an ideal hub, kind of half-way between, if you allow me a little poetic license, about half-way between Chicago and New York, not quite but about half-way. So we see that as an ideal way to put a maglev into the United States.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You will also see in there Senator Arlen Specter, and he has been very, very supportive. He rode maglev a couple of years ago and has been a real supporter on the Senate side, not only of Pennsylvania but of maglev in the United States. So we really appreciate his comments and his support.
We will also see a listing of our shareholders or our equity partners who are helping us put this together. We have been together for about 15 years working on high-speed maglev and we have been very, very thankful of the support we have gotten from our equity members.
Mr. Chairman, in a wrap-up sort of way, we believe that the United States needs to develop a national initiative for high-speed maglev transportation. It is a new mode of transportation, or you can call it an old mode, as we have heard before, that has been around for a while, but it is ready for deployment and can make a real impact in where we are heading in the United States with some of the transportation problems that we are experiencing, not only on the highways but also in the airways.
As you have stated and other members have stated here before, several of the members of the committee have gone to Lathen, Germany, and have ridden the maglev recently. We are delighted that they were there because the proof of the viability of that system and its operational readiness is already there.
The Pittsburgh area, as I said, has been active with high-speed maglev for about 15 years. It started with a Carnegie Mellon University study of the next generation of trains. That study pointed to the fact that we need to move into high-speed maglev. Our partners have been incorporated to help us for about 11 years. That partnership that we have includes some diverse groups. We have the steelworkers as one of our partners and they are one of the largest labor unions in the United States, and we also include a couple of steel companies, the United States Steel Company and Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel, and Mr. Bruce Haines, who is vice president of technology and management services for U.S. Steel is here with us today and a very valuable part of that partnership.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me just summarize what I think we will be able to get to here, Mr. Chairman. We believe that the Transrapid high-speed maglev system is revenue ready and we would like to see it put into effect throughout the United States. We believe we have created a core team and an expanded industry team which allows us to understand the entire technology and we are ready to put that in. Southwestern Pennsylvania we think is an ideal location to demonstrate the full potential of high-speed maglev, and the technology is very much transferable to other areas. We believe that the benefits of this technology are very valuable. It is environmentally acceptable, has low energy use, a lot of favorable features that are associated with the technology.
[The following information was received:]
Precision fabrication of large steel structures is one of the technologies associated with the development of high-speed maglev that we are pursuing in Pennsylvania. We believe that precision fabrication of steel structures will open the market for steel and help recapture many jobs lost to off shore companies. Precision fabrication of steel has direct benefits in building bridge structures and in ship building.
Dr. GURNEY.Mr. Chairman, we believe that Pittsburgh offers a compelling case for being the selected site to deploy the first high-speed maglev. But we truly believe that the committee should look very seriously about authorizing additional funds for putting this across the country. We think it has that merit.
Mr. Chairman, we would like to invite you and the members of the committee to come to Pittsburgh and see what we are trying to put into effect and also to look at the technology and the studies that we have done. I thank you for your time.
Mr. QUINN. Thank you very much, Dr. Gurney. We appreciate your testimony.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Haines, you are not on the list to say anything necessarily, you are an accompanier today. I will have a question for you in a minute or two. But if I may just depart for a second and exercise the Chair's prerogative, I would ask you, and we have talked about this before, from the steel business perspective and what steel means to this country and our economyand Mr. Mascara and I both have been active in that issue on the Hill here for years and I know Mr. Mascara even before he came herecan I ask you to take a couple of minutes and as a partner with Dr. Gurney and others, and I just met with some steelworkers this morning as a matter of fact at the Secretary's office, give me your perspective of the importance of the steel business here and how maybe it is an off-shoot. I am going to give you the floor for about two minutes.
Mr. HAINES. Sure, Mr. Chairman. Thank you. Needless to say, we have heard about the transportation benefits of maglev this morning and I am not going to touch on that. But to your point, obviously a supplemental benefit to that is the growth of a potential new market for steel and the importance of that to our industry which is beleaguered, as you know.
So as you look at this, and you have heard talk of 5,000 tons a mile this morning and that is mostly plate steel, the plate steel market basically touches about seven States in the United States from the East Coast to the West Coast: Pennsylvania in East, Indiana and Iowa in the Midwest, Oregon and Utah in the West, and North Carolina and Alabama in the South. And, of course, for the integrated producers among those producing States for plates, Minnesota is a very vital supplier of the iron ore that goes into that process. So at 5,000 tons a mile of steel plate in the guideway, if you just take the demonstration project alone, 250,000 tons of steel would be utilized just for the demonstration project.
But take that vision forward to the point where it is deployed as the next generation high-speed ground transportation. At just simply 200 miles per year being built across the country, you are talking about a million tons per year of plate steel. That is in a market today of about 6.5 million tons of plate steel that is consumed in the United States today. And the domestic producers of plate steel here in the U.S. today are only operating at 60 percent of their capacity, and that capacity represents both integrated and electric furnace.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, obviously, this is a very important long-range transportation
Mr. QUINN. Well, thank you very much. Sorry to cut you off. I did not mean to put you on the spot, but I knew you had the answer to that question. And it is an important side effect no matter where we are going to do this. Thank you.
Mr. BARROWS. Thank you, Chairman Quinn, and members of the committee. I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Bruce Barrows and I am the Mayor Pro-Tem of the city of Cerritos, and also a member of the Southern California Association of Governments and the vice-chair of the Maglev Task Force for them. The Southern California Association of Governments is a joint powers planning agency encompassing six counties, including Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernadino, Riverside, and Ventura. There are approximately 185 cities that are members of the organization covering 16.5 million residents, and they are planning to have a growth of adding, at least two Chicagos, 6 million people over the next 2025 years.
My remarks will cover four areas pertaining to the California maglev project. They are: the project description, its purpose, financing, and project benefits.
First, a brief project description. The initial phase of the California maglev system is 92 miles in length and serves a corridor that is designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation as both a high-speed rail corridor and a transportation corridor of national significance. The initial segment is depicted by the red line on the map attached to your copies of my remarks.
The proposed project will connect three of the region's airports, including Los Angeles International Airport, the nation's third busiest airport, with major population and employment centers in three countiesLos Angeles, San Bernadino, and Riverside.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The project is one line of a 273-mile network of high-speed lines traversing four counties which has been adopted as an integral part of the Regional Transportation Plan by Southern California. The 273-mile network is depicted by the red, blue, black, and yellow lines on the map attached to your copies of my remarks.
An estimated 134,000 daily riders will use the initial 92-mile segment by 2020. This number represents about 6 percent of the 2.5 million daily longer-distance, intra-regional trips in the corridor. The initial line will generally follow and be located within the existing public right-of-ways of railroads and freeways.
Maglev vehicles will operate to top speeds of 240 miles an hour and average about 90 to 100 miles an hour. This compares to the current rush hour freeway speeds of 20 to 30 miles an hour.
The purpose of our maglev project is to serve intra-regional travel. The proposed project provides the only practical means for resolving current traffic congestion problems and meeting growing travel demands. We have looked at a variety of possible alternatives, but each has fatal shortcomings such as excessive cost, severe adverse environmental impacts, or significant public opposition.
About 50,000 riders per day will use the initial line to commute between home and work. About 42,000 riders per day will use it to access airports, and around 33,000 riders per day will use it to travel between home and other destinations.
Maglev will enable us to better manage the region's airport systems and take pressure off of LAX.
The project will be financed as follows. The 92-mile high-speed line will cost an estimated $7 billion to construct, in current dollars. Public funds will be used to complete predeployment planning, including all State and Federal environmental clearances. Construction and operating funding will come from passenger fares, cargo fees, and station area concessions.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The project financing will come from the sale of tax-exempt bonds and from Federal loans and loans guarantees made available under the Federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, more commonly known as TIFIA.
Our financial plan has been reviewed by Goldman Sachs and reflects the firm's own assessment that our project financing is feasible.
On May 3rd of this year, the Southern California Association of Governments Regional Council adopted a business plan for implementing the California maglev project through a public-private partnership, as called for under the Federal Maglev Demonstration Program authorized through TEA21. A key project benefit of national interest is a demonstration of maglev technology that requires modest involvement and support of the Federal Government.
To attract private investors for our project, we need to have the California project continue in the Federal Maglev Demonstration Program. Continuing support and involvement of the Department of Transportation is essential. Our Federal funding requirement for the entire $7 billion project is limited to just $14 million in Federal fiscal years 2002 and 2003 funds. That will allow us to enable completion of environmental reviews and all other predeployment planning work. The system will be built and operated under the public-private partnership using only project operating revenues to fund construction and operating costs.
TIFIA loans and loan guarantees would be used to assist in project financing. No further Federal grant assistance is required. We do not need the $950 million authorized in TEA21 for constructing the California project.
Again, I want to thank you for inviting me to participate in today's hearing. I would be pleased to answer any questions that you may have regarding the California Maglev Deployment Program.
Mr. QUINN. Thank you, Mr. Barrows. What we will probably do, as you have seen already this morning, is we will let everybody have a chance to get their testimony onboard and then we will have all of our questions at once. I believe that Eleanor Holmes-Norton is going to join us on the committee, a member of the full committee, and she has got some questions as well.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Cummings, we will ask you to try to summarize in about five minutes or so. You are on.
Mr. CUMMINGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Well, there is an old cliche, you get what you pay for. And the American Magline Group, which I represent and am president of, the American Magline Group, in a public-private partnership with the California-Nevada Commission, is willing to and has been paying for the Transrapid technology for close to eight to ten years now.
We have been working together with the Transrapid technology. The Technology Transfer Program has been underway for over eight years. And whereas perhaps in another ten years we may be willing to look at the AMT technology, we want to proceed now. And what we are prepared to do is break ground on a Transrapid system in the Las Vegas to Anaheim corridor in the near term. And I emphasize the near term because the Federal program requires a near term demonstration project and we believe that the first leg, which we call the first 40 miles, of the Las Vegas to Anaheim project is the one that is best suited to demonstrate the technology in this country.
Mindful of many issues, including the cost issue that has been discussed at great length today, the cost of building our first 40 miles is $1.4 billion, which fits into the Federal program perfectly with the two-thirds funding from the Federal Government. The State of Nevada recently passed legislation authorizing the California and Nevada Commission to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance the balance of the cost of the first 40 miles. The second first 40 miles we plan is from Anaheim to Ontario, which is about a 40-mile segment as well.
We are working also together with the SCAG group in coordinating our activities. We have formed a western alliance, if you will, for maglev. We think maglev is critical to the future of the West. We think that, again, the perfect demonstration of maglev is in a corridor where there are over 40 million visitors each year which come to the Las Vegas area from all over the U.S. and all over the world in fact. There are also 25 million cars that travel on the I15 highway between Barstow and Las Vegas every year, and that number is expected to increase substantially over the next 20 years.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have support from all the corridors along the route. We have resolutions of support from the cities of Las Vegas, Barstow, Victorville, Ontario, and Anaheim. We have resolutions of support from the regional planning organizations. We do not want to leave any stone unturned. Again with respect to the cost issue, we believe the Federal Government would get the most bang for its buck with a 40-mile segment in the West, beginning in Las Vegas.
On the issue of the starting point. History is sometimes a great teacher and I would like to draw briefly on a couple of parallels in history to make the point of why start where we are contending that it should be started. A great reference is the Transcontinental Railroad. There is a great book out by Steven Ambrose called ''Nothing Like It In the World,'' and I learned quite a bit from reviewing this book. Among other things, I learned that Abraham Lincoln was one of the great railroad lawyers of the West and that, next to slavery, the building of the Transcontinental Railroad was the most important thing to him in his political career.
In fact, in August 13, 1859, he met with a man named Grenville Mellon Dodge at a place called Council Bluffs, Iowa, a place of 2,500 people, and the purpose of the meeting was to talk about where do you start the Union Pacific Railroad to reach toward the West. There had been a great deal of controversy about where do you start the Union Pacific Railroad. Well, it had to do with slavery and a whole bunch of other issues, but Mr. Lincoln had a conversation with Grenville Dodge which I would like to briefly read from in the book. It is very interesting and I think it makes the point of why our Union Pacific Railroad is going to be starting in Las Vegas and the Central Pacific is starting in Anaheim.
It is August 13th of 1859. ''It was a hot day in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The settlement was on the western boundary of the State, just across the Missouri River from the Nebraska village of Omaha. A politician from the neighboring State of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, went to council hall to make a speech. It attracted a big crowd because of Lincoln's prominence after the previous year's Lincoln-Douglas debates and the keen interest in the following year's presidential election. In the audience was Grenville Mellon Dodge, a 28 year-old railroad engineer.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''The next day he joined a group of citizens who had gathered on the big porch of the Pacific House, a hotel, to hear Lincoln answer questions. When Lincoln had finished and the crowd dispersed, W.H.M. Pucet, with whom the speaker was staying, recognized young Dodge. He pointed out Dodge to Lincoln and said that the young engineer knew more about railroads than any two men in the country. That snapped Lincoln's head around. He studied Dodge intently for a moment and then said, ''Let's go meet.''
He and Pucet strolled across the porch to a bench where Dodge was sitting. Pucet introduced them. Lincoln sat down beside Dodge, crossed his long legs, slung his foot for a moment, put his big hand on Dodge's forearm, and went straight to the point. ''Dodge, what's the best route for a Pacific Railroad to the West?'' Dodge instantly replied, ''From this town, Council Bluffs, out the Platt Valley.'' Lincoln thought that over for a moment or two, then asked: ''Why do you think so?'' Dodge replied, ''That the route of the 42nd parallel was the 'most practical and economic' for building the railroad, which made Council Bluffs 'the logical point of beginning.' ''Why?'' Lincoln wanted to know. ''Because the railroad's building from Chicago to this point,'' Dodge answered, ''and because of the uniform grade along the Platt Valley all the way to the Rocky Mountains.''
In fact, ultimately, that is where it started. And it started in California in Sacramento. Again, the analogy, our Sacramento is Anaheim, and our Council Bluffs is Las Vegas.
We definitely need the Federal Government's support. If the last 20 years have shown us anything, high-speed ground transportation systems, any form of transportation infrastructure needs Federal support. When President Eisenhower decided to build the National Highway System, he did not go to General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford and tell them to build the highway so they could sell their cars. We need the help of the Federal Government to make all this happen.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But having said that, there is no question but that change comes slowly. It is difficult to accept change. It is impossible to predict. Just a couple quick quotes I think you will find interesting along those lines.
Mr. QUINN. Excuse me, Mr. Cummings. I have read that book already, by the way.
Mr. CUMMINGS. No, no, no, not this book, a different
Mr. QUINN. Your time is up.
Mr. CUMMINGS. I will stop. Nonetheless, I will stop. Thank you very much.
Mr. QUINN. Nonetheless, I will ask you to stop.
Mr. CUMMINGS. I could go on reading forever.
Mr. QUINN. I know you could. Not on our time, though. Thank you. And by the way, I am about three-quarters finished with the Ambrose book. It is fascinating. And Lincoln, when he made those decisions, was not very popular when he made them. It was a difficult, difficult decision for the President, he was not the President when he made them, to fund them. Very, very difficult. Your point is very well taken.
Mr. QUINN. We have our last witness, Mr. Suhair Alkhatib, and then we will get to questions. Sir, you may begin. We ask you to keep to about five minutes if you can. Thank you.
Mr. ALKHATIB. Good afternoon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee. I submit testimony today on behalf of the State of Maryland. My name is Suhair Alkhatib and I am principal engineer with the Maryland Transit Administration and the project manager for the Baltimore-Washington maglev.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Maryland in partnership with the District of Columbia has been fortunate to participate in the Maglev Deployment Program. Our Governor and Lieutenant Governor and political leaders have been in full support of the project. The project that we have is to connect two cities, Baltimore Camden Yards to Union Station, Washington, going through BWI Airport, two major cities with a major international airport. It is 40 miles of a first leg that we see that will be connecting the entire eastern seaboard, linking cities like Philadelphia, Boston, New York, and South to Richmond, Charlotte, and eventually to Atlanta.
The study results kind of mirrors what two Federal maglev studies have found, that the corridors with the highest traffic densitiesthe Northeast corridor and the West Coast corridorare the strongest candidates for maglev. Maglev offers opportunities to literally fly on the ground, as you heard this morning.
Places like Baltimore-Washington where there is a very densely travelled corridor, already we are facing the problems of congestion and explosive growth. All infrastructure that exists today is not going to be able to address the growth that we are going to be experiencing in the next 20, 30, 40 years. MPOs in both areas have forecasted that Baltimore metro area is going to grow by about 40 percent in the next 40 years, Washington metro area is going to grow by 90 percent, and the BWI Airport just in the next 10 years will be growing by about 70 percent. These are solid growth that is going to require solid answers. We think maglev is going to be one of the tools that is going to help us address that congestion and that growth in both areas.
Besides, the longer corridor, the Washington to Boston, which has a population of 36 million, that is also growing by about 25 percent in the next 40 years. And the Southeast corridor, which is the hottest corridor in the country, is growing by a 50 percent growth in the next 40 years.
We basically looked at alignment between the two cities and we have three very feasible alignments between Baltimore and Washington with environmental features that are very conducive to maglev. We are, as stated earlier, we have been selected as one of the two projects to move to the next phase. We are doing the EIS, doing the engineering, and we have a schedule for completion, as stated by FRA. We have a record of decision for EIS and engineering to put us in a position to be able to build the project.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In terms of what TEA21 has required for financing of the project. The plan of finance basically that we have for the project dictated that we will have the $950 million that is stated in TEA21 plus we will be getting over $1.7 billion of private funds in the form of bonds that are going to be floated. We have been in discussion with the private sector, with bonding firms, and with bankers who feel that we have a project that could be bondable and bankable and will be able to fund the remainder of the costs of the project.
We see the ridership numbers that we have are critical because then it will be the strength of this ridership and the trust that the private sector is going to put in the study that we have done is going to be the critical element of ours, or any other project, succeeding and basically moving to the next phase of construction.
There are some highlights of the project that we have done.
We have shown that we can move about 35,000 riders a day between Baltimore and Washington in the first year of the system. We will have our $320 million in revenue coming out of the system in the first year, going to about $850 million a year in about year 2040.
The critical and the key benefit of the project is we will be able to move people between Baltimore and Washington in less than 20 minutes. There is nothing that exists today in terms of transportation modes that will be able to achieve anything close to 1619 minutes travel time between downtown Baltimore to downtown Washington. We will be able to go from Union Station to BWI in less than 10 minutes, which is a tremendous and monumental improvement of anything that we have today.
We see also a tremendous growth and tremendous added value of real estate of areas next to the stations. The three stations that we have planned for the project will have an additional assessed value of $1.1 billion resulting from adding the system.
And again, lastly, we will be able to divert about 30,000 vehicle trips from existing highways to a system that is very clean, very safe, very comfortable, and very fast that is going to be able to serve the people of the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In closing, we strongly believe this project is the best site to demonstrate the capability of the technology and its economic impact. I thank you for your kind interest in the project and would be willing to answer any questions that you might have. Thank you.
Mr. QUINN. Thank you very much. And thank you all for your patience and understanding here this afternoon. We will have all of you open for questions. I know Mr. Haines is also here with Dr. Gurney to help us.
I will yield to Mr. Mascara for any questions he might have. Again, we are going to abide by the same rules we ask our witnesses, try to keep it to about five minutes.
We are happy to welcome our colleague to the subcommittee this afternoon. Eleanor, good to have you with us.
Mr. MASCARA. Thank you, Chairman Quinn. Chairman Quinn and I are members of the Steel Caucus and have worked with other members in the Congress to create a fair trading environment for the remaining steel manufacturers in the United States. Unfair trading and subsidies by our foreign trading partners has caused collapse of the steel industry. Many of the steel companies are now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Where I am leading to here, and Dr. Gurney, you might help me along here, as a former accountant, I cannot help but when I get some figures to extrapolate. Dr. Gurney, from your testimony, as I indicated earlier, they are estimating about 5,000 tons of steel per mile. And for 47 miles, if my math is correct, that goes out to 235,000 tons of steel. And at an average cost of about $450 a ton, that is about $105 million. I took that and then I took your numbers on 6,000 cubic yards of concrete per mile and multiplied that times the 47 miles, and that came out to about $4.5 million. So we are talking for that project for the infrastructure alone costing about $109.5 million.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We got some information from the Iron and Steel Institute regarding how to extrapolate the number of jobs involved. In that particular job in Pittsburgh, it called for about 450 steelworkers being put to work. Any of you, or do you, Dr. Gurney, have any information on the impact on new steel jobs in the United States if we were to go to this technology?
Mr. HAINES. I guess Dr. Gurney is deferring to me. I cannot convert exactly, but as I indicated earlier, 200 miles a year of construction would generate about 1 million tons a year of steel plate requirement. And that 1 million tons a year of steel plate requirement represents the equivalent of building a new plate mill like Nucore has just done in North Carolina, it would also be the equivalent of a plate mill that Ipsco has built in Alabama. So that is the kind of level of capacity and what the steel market can do. The jobs in those kind of mills are consistent with what you talked about, about 450 to 500 jobs at that kind of capacity mill. So 200 miles a year is a relatively modest build when you think about it on a national basis. So you can see the potential that exists here. And as I said, the existing capacity today for steel plates is we are selling into the market 6.5 million tons. So if you were to add another million tons a year with 200 miles of guideway in this country, you are talking about a 17 to 20 percent increase in the steel plate production requirements, which is not insignificant.
Mr. MASCARA. Thank you. Anybody else want to comment?
Mr. CUMMINGS. If I could comment on behalf of the American Magline Group. One of our joint venture members is Hirschfeld Steel Company, the second largest steel fabricator in the country. They have been one of our partners for about six or eight years now. They have worked extensively with Transrapid in Germany on the design of a guideway beam specifically for the U.S. market, an americanization, if you will, of the guideway beam. They are extremely excited about the prospects of what this could mean for the steel industry.
Just a little story. My family has a background in steel. My grandfather was a chief engineer at Bethlehem Steel, and my family has a long history of Bethlehem Steel. Now my good cousin, John Cummings, is the head of marketing nationwide for Bethlehem Steel. We have had a number of discussions about kind of coincidence that he and I are both involved in maglev, just totally coincidental. But we are excited about what this can do for the steel industry and we have been moving in that direction for some time.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MASCARA. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. QUINN. We could use those accounting talents on the Budget Committee, Mr. Mascara, if you had some extra time on your hands.
Ms. Norton, I understand that you have some constituents waiting for you. So, if Ms. Berkley does not mind, we will yield to you and give you about five minutes right now.
Ms. NORTON. Very much appreciate your courtesy, Mr. Chairman, and Ms. Berkley. I do have a question or two for Mr. Alkhatib. Of course, the entire Maryland delegation and the entire D.C. delegation, which you see now before you, are very excited about this possibility. You say in your testimony, as has earlier been indicated, this is the only system ready for commercial application. I am trying to find out how much of a feasibility test we are speaking to. Are you testifying that we are essentially testing the commercial feasibility of maglev for the entire country?
Mr. ALKHATIB. In terms of feasibility of the system and feasibility of the technology, we have looked at the feasibility of the technology, which is the Transrapid, and then we are applying it to the Baltimore-Washington to see if that is feasible in the Washington-Baltimore. What we have demonstrated in the feasibility study we produced and submitted to FRA in June is, yes, the technology is feasible in the Baltimore-Washington area, at least in that corridor. That is where we have proved whether it is feasible.
Ms. NORTON. But this is a commercial enterprise.
Mr. ALKHATIB. Correct.
Ms. NORTON. And you are convinced that this is a feasible commercial enterprise given the other modes of ground transportation between Baltimore and Washington. What convinces you of that?
Mr. ALKHATIB. The ridership number that we have projected shows that we are going to have about 35,000 riders a day. About 40 percent of these people are going to be going to and from BWI Airport. We have surveyed a segment of the market, we have looked at what kind of people will be using the system, where they are going to be going from and to. We have done a very detailed state of preference survey. We have modelers who have done ridership and have looked at existing technology in the system. We have, basically, the MARC commuter rail between Baltimore and Washington, we have Amtrak, but this is an incremental in quality and incremental of travel time that will basically attract new riders who currently use the highway, use their autos to travel. So we have confident of the numbers we produced.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We believe we are going to not only attract the people we say, but also produce the revenue that is going to be needed to pay back the debt for the project which is going to be needed, the bonds that we are going to issue to pay for the project. Over 60 percent of the project cost comes from private sources. It is crucial that this revenue is going to be looked at by the private industry, which we have been meeting with and we have been showing the details of the study and the methodology of the study and the way we have conducted the study. We met with bankers, we met with bond raters, and they all seem to think that we are on the right track, that we have a project study that will lead us to where we can build a project that could be economically feasible.
Ms. NORTON. In percentage terms, what do you see as the local and State contributions?
Mr. ALKHATIB. The numbers that we have done for the finance plan had the State of Maryland, the District of Columbia, plus the localities have something in the neighborhood of 12 percent contribution to the project.
Ms. NORTON. I notice that in your very interesting diagrams there are different terminals, or there appear to be different terminals. I cannot tell by looking at the D.C. terminal, but the Baltimore terminal looks like it is different or there is a new terminal of some kind. Would you explain to me if a new ground facility is needed.
Mr. ALKHATIB. We have included in the package a concept design for stations. In the Baltimore instance is an underground station that the train will come underground under the area around Camden Yards and we will have a station that we will be able to lease the air rights to a private developer. Because the idea is to have a station that could be integrated with retail, with commercial activities so that we can have not only the benefit of selling the air rights, but we will have the benefit of traffic, people using these commercial activities in conjunction with the station.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC At Union Station in Washington, we have a concept for an elevated guideway that will come straight into Union Station that will have complete connectivity with Amtrak, with the WMATA system, with everything that is in Union Station.
At BWI Airport, we will have an underground station that goes right into the terminal so that passenger can use the train to go straight into the terminal, walk a few steps, and they are basically at check-in for their luggage and get their ticketing.
So we are trying to provide ease of connectivity and least amount of travel time to get from one point to another.
Ms. NORTON. Thank you very much. We are very pleased with the progress you are making.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. QUINN. You are very welcome. Thanks for your questions. As always, happy to have you with us.
Ms. BERKLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Cummings, I am so glad that you drew that comparison between Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Las Vegas. I cannot tell you how many times since serving in Congress people have gotten my district of Las Vegas confused with Council Bluffs.
Mr. CUMMINGS. Be that as it may. I just have a few questions that I would like you to answer for me. How much of the Las Vegas-Anaheim project is going to be built by your American team of companies?
Mr. CUMMINGS. Well, everything except the first trains. The first trains will likely come from Germany, the train sets themselves, the vehicles, which is a minor element of the cost. But everything else will be built by the American companies in place on the ground. Of course, this creates a whole new industry.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BERKLEY. Let me ask you something. Your team is already in place and ready to start building?
Mr. CUMMINGS. Yes. The members of the team, I should have mentioned earlier, are: Hirschfeld Steel Company, Parsons Transportation Group, General Atomics. General Atomics will provide an americanized version of the propulsion system; Hirschfeld Steel, the guideway; Parsons Transportation Group, the engineering and design. Part of our team as well is Salomon Smith Barney on the financial end, and Transrapid International-USA on the technology.
Ms. BERKLEY. You quoted a relatively low cost per mile. I know that we were told that the cost per mile depends on the mile. But is your project going to require any tunneling, any building of bridges, any other geographic obstacles between Las Vegas and Anaheim, that will increase the costs that you have quoted?
Mr. CUMMINGS. I can tell you this. Between Las Vegas and Ontario, which is about 220 miles, it is all I15 corridor. There will be no need for tunneling. There will be no unexpected construction issues. I will point out that DeHone Pass between the State line and Victorville will provide this train with the opportunity to show its 10 percent grade climbing capability, which is very unique with maglev as compared to other forms of technology. But between Ontario and Anaheim, likewise there will be no tunneling. They will follow the 91 highway.
Ms. BERKLEY. The FRA representative, Mr. Lindsey, in his testimony talked about ten criteria that were part of the evaluation process. I am looking at the criteria now, and it seems to me that we are talking about straight, flat land; a minimum of 40 million potential riders on the Las Vegas side and I suspect several more million on the southern California side; tax-exempt bonds that have already been issued by the State of Nevada; the fact that you can begin work tomorrow. Which one of these ten criteria would this project not have met?
Mr. CUMMINGS. I have not found one. I think it meets all the criteria and I think it meets them best.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BERKLEY. Thank you.
Mr. QUINN. Mr. Barrows, in your statement early on you talked about cargo fees as maybe a source of construction money or even operating money. If we are going to be talking about maglev mostly for passenger only, can you give me a little bit more about cargo fees, what you had in mind there.
Mr. BARROWS. There are all these studies that we have and the projections to support traffic, the growth that they are projecting just on the trucks alone, a tripling of the trucks mostly going up the 710 freeway, there is a shortage of rail space even with the Alameda corridor project. When that is completed it will be at capacity the date it is completed. The growth is growing much faster than it was projected when they first did the design on it. There is a need for more capacity and the system itself will allow that in the off-peak hours when the passengers are not using it.
Mr. QUINN. Thank you.
Mr. MASCARA. First, I have a request of all of you. I was trying to go in a direction to see what kind of employment this could create in addition to the steelworkers jobs that I asked about. But perhaps I could challenge you to sharpen your pencils and provide this committee with some projections potential for this maglev technology.
I do have one question for Mr. Alkhatib. A number of observers have questioned the selection of the Baltimore-Washington corridor for a maglev demonstration project because the region has already benefitted from a Federal investment in high-speed rail service Acela trains. You mentioned growth and congestion, but these problems are really national problems. How do you respond to those critics? Also, would not your service divert passengers from existing Amtrak Acela trains?
Mr. ALKHATIB. Thank you. We are basically trying to look in the future. Amtrak does not serve the Baltimore-Washington corridor well. Amtrak is really slated more towards travel long distance and they do not really serve the Baltimore-Washington. It has not been marketed heavily in the Baltimore-Washington area and it has not been attracting the people.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Amtrak shares right-of-way with freight, it shares right-of-way with other operators, and they are always under the influence of things that impact the corridor; meaning, it is physically limited to a certain speed limit. Amtrak cannot achieve anything more than 120 miles an hour between Baltimore and Washington versus 240 or access of 300 miles an hour that could be achieved with maglev. So travel time will be a tremendous saving on a maglev system versus even the Acela train that is just underway.
Also, we see this as the next generation of trains that this could become part of the family of services that Amtrak has. We have been in discussion with Amtrak about this and how would this fit in their future plans. They see this, if this project gets extended north to New York and Boston, as it could become part of the Amtrak network to the point where they will have the premium service with the maglev, they will have the existing Acela, and they will have the lower speed which is the regional service. They will have a family incremental service that they will charge different prices for for the different benefits that you get for travel time.
So we see the benefit in the Baltimore-Washington area because of the growth and the congestion that we see and we do not see anything that exists today that is going to be able to solve the problem that we see coming. We see it today and we see it worsening in the future. That is for the Baltimore-Washington. And then the bigger corridor, Amtrak and we see this as something that we all can benefit from.
Mr. MASCARA. I would like to see this technology deployed all over the country. We are here I guess competing for this initial project. But I was personally interested in you answering whether or not people who now ride Acela would not choose to ride a maglev train if they could get here much quicker from Baltimore or other places east of here or west of here.
Mr. ALKHATIB. The way we designed the maglev system is we wanted to go where people want to go. Amtrak in Baltimore goes to Penn Station, which is north of the city, it is not quite downtown, where this system will go right to the heart of downtown. Amtrak at BWI Airport has a station about a mile from the Airport, which means that people have to get off and wait for a bus and shuttle, where this will go straight into the terminal.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So we added features to the project that makes it very attractive to the user. It will not take away from Amtrak because Amtrak does not carry too many people between Baltimore and Washington, and it will not take away from the commuter rail service that exists because this is the local service that stops 10, 15 stops along the way for people who take it to go to Washington or Baltimore from points in between. Very few people take it from one end as a commuter because the train stops quite a bit. So we see this as a different niche, different market than what we have today.
Mr. MASCARA. So you are saying there would be no real decline in the people using today's technology to get to Washington, D.C. or from Buffalo to Baltimore?
Mr. ALKHATIB. No. The forecasting that we have done shows most, 95 percent, of the people coming from auto trips, from people who are driving today who are going to be quite frustrated by the congestion to the point where they decide they are going to park their car and take maglev.
Mr. MASCARA. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. QUINN. Thank you, Mr. Mascara.
We have asked all of you as a panel for some information to get back to the subcommittee. We appreciate your doing that for us, but we also understand that it may take you a little bit of time to put together. So that if we could get that between the next week to two week period, I think that would be fine with Mr. Mascara and it would be fine with me.
We appreciate your attention this afternoon and your help with the ongoing discussions.
We are adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 1:55 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.]
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrepared Statement of Suhair Alkhatib, Maryland Mass Transit Administration
Committee Chairman Young, Subcommittee Chairman Quinn and Members of the Committee I submit this testimony on behalf of the State of Maryland, and of Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend who wanted to testify before this committee regarding the Baltimore-Washington Maglev project but was unable to clear her schedule sufficiently to be here with you today. I am Suhair Alkhatib, Principal Engineer in the Office of Planning for the Maryland Mass Transit Administration (MTA) and the Project Manager for the Baltimore-Washington Maglev project. MTA is the agency that has managed all the Maglev feasibility studies that began in 1992.
Maryland in partnership with the District of Columbia has been fortunate to participate in the Maglev Deployment Program with a project that fits the criteria set out in the enabling legislation. Our Governor and Lt. Governor, the entire Maryland Congressional Delegation, the House Member representing Washington, DC, the Mayors of Baltimore and Washington, DC and the Departments of Transportation for Washington DC and Maryland are all gratified that the project they have supported for so many years was selected by the US Department of Transportation to move to the next stage of development and begin the Environmental Impact Statement phase. One of your own Subcommittee members, Representative Elijah Cummings has worked very hard to support this project and to assure funding for the Maglev Deployment Program. This project has enjoyed the strong political support from these leaders who have had the vision to recognize the need for Maglev and the far-reaching transportation and economic impacts from the technology.
One of the first actions by the study team was to select the Transrapid technology for the project. It is the only system that is ready for commercial application as is evidenced by Transrapid's testimony today and the project under way in Shanghai. Many question why select Maglev in a corridor that already has high-speed rail. Our answer is that we are looking to the future and to the travel needs of the coming generations. People are incorporating higher and higher speeds into every facet of their lives. Maglev offers travelers the opportunity to fly on the ground. Magnetic levitation removes friction and increases both the speed at which you can operate and the rate for acceleration and deceleration. The lack of friction reduces maintenance and increases the life of the infrastructure. High-speed rail is an older generation of technology that offers lower speed than Maglev.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The facts detailed in the study and highlighted in our brochure underline why Maglev is needed in this 40-mile corridor that we propose is the initial leg of an entire Eastern Seaboard Corridor linking the major cities north to Boston and south to Charlotte and eventually Atlanta. The study results mirror two federal Maglev studies(see footnote 1) that found the corridors with the highest traffic densitiesthe Northeast Corridor and the West Coast Corridorare the strongest candidates for Maglev. Our project also proposes linking to the fastest growing corridor, the Southeast Corridor.
Three feasible alignments between Baltimore and Washington have been identified in the feasibility report that was submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in June 2000. Also submitted to FRA is the Environmental Assessment report that indicated that the environmental features of the Baltimore-Washington corridor are of such nature that it could be avoided, minimized or mitigated. An Environmental Impact Statement or EIS and Preliminary Engineering are being prepared and is scheduled for completion in May 2003.
Many question why, when the Northeast Corridor has benefited from an immense federal investment in transportation infrastructure, there is a need for Maglev. The answer is the combination of congestion and growth.
Congestion and the resulting air pollution and road rage are with us today. The picture for the future demands that some new solutions be implemented. The demand for travel is growing at a rate triple the growth of population. Transportation professionals point to the fact that the number of vehicle miles traveled in the US, 2.78 trillion miles annually, has grown 30% since 1990 and the population grew by 10% in the same period. The two metropolitan planning offices for the Baltimore-Washington corridor project explosive growth for the region.
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The population of the Baltimore Metro area is projected to grow by 40% by the year 2040.
The population of the Washington Metro area is projected to grow by 90% by the year 2040.
The Baltimore Washington International Airport is the fastest growing airport in the country and is projected to grow by 70% by the year 2010.
Tourism in the Baltimore-Washington region is projected to grow by 40% by 2040.
This kind of growth in the 40-mile corridor justifies the introduction of a new efficient mode that will move people safely and, more importantly, quickly. Look at the projections for growth in the larger, Eastern Seaboard corridor.
The Washington to Boston corridor is 450 miles and has a population of 36 million people. It is projected to grow to 44 million by 2040, a 25% growth rate.
The Washington to Charlotte corridor is 360 miles and has a population of 10 million people. It is projected to grow to 15 million by 2040, a 50% growth rate.
In a high-density travel corridor already facing the problems related to congestion, the existing transportation infrastructure would not be able to accommodate the expected growth. The studies produced by all the projects make the case for the introduction of Maglev as part of an enlarged transportation network with greater capacity. Some of the highlights of the Baltimore-Washington study:
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Ridership: 35,400 trips per day in the year 2010; 44,000 trips per day in the year 2040;
Revenue: $320 million per year in 2010; $855 million per year in 2040;
Travel Time: 1619 minutes Baltimore to Washington, DC; and
Speed: Up to 240 miles per hour in all three alignments studied.
There are other economic and societal benefits from the project.
The combined value of real estate development on or surrounding the Maglev stations between 20002030 could exceed $1.1 billion
Reduction in current congestion on Baltimore-Washington Corridor roadways by removing 30,000 vehicle trips per day which totals 800,000 trips annually
The reduction in vehicle trips will also reduce harmful emissions in the air. The Baltimore-Washington project will reduce the following pollutants:
Over 83 tons of Volatile Organic Compounds per year
Over 1,000 tons of Carbon Dioxide per year; and
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Over 242 tons of Noxious Oxide per year.
Section 1218 of the TEA 21 transportation legislation required that there must be a public/private partnership and the federal funding portion of the final selected project is limited to two-thirds of the cost of construction and could not exceed $950 million. In a corridor like Baltimore to Washington, the ratio of federal to local and private is reversed. I would like to underline that the Maryland Department of Transportation has taken a very conservative approach to this study and have included a high contingency factor in our costing. We used a 40% contingency factor which is probably higher than any of the other projects used. The study estimates the actual final project costs will range between $3.5 and $4 billion.
As mentioned before, with over 35,000 projected riders a day we anticipate annual revenue of $320 million in the first year of operation growing to $855 million in 2040. The ridership numbers are critical because, in the end, it will be the strength and validity of the ridership numbers that will finance the projects with the limited federal contribution. The endorsement by the financial community will be the ultimate test for any project. That is why the initial projects must be located in densely populated corridors with proven markets to achieve the ridership that is needed to service the revenue bonds. Our financing plan includes:
$1.75 billionOperating Revenue Bonds/TIFIA loan;
$950 millionFederal grant;
$650 millionVendor equity, station development and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district; and
$500 millionState and local contributions.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Using a conservative construction schedule, we estimate the system would be in service for the public by 2010. The timing is important because the Baltimore-Washington region is also united in its effort to bring the summer Olympics to the region in 2012. Just last week members of the International Olympic Committee were in the U.S. touring the eight cities competing to be the potential U.S. site. The first place the Committee visited was Washington and Baltimore. During the transportation briefing members of the Committee showed great interest through their questions in the possibility of the Maglev system connecting the two host cities.
In closing, we strongly believe that this project is the best site to demonstrate the capability of the technology and its economic impact. We would be glad to share the details of the entire study with anyone who is interested and would invite all of you to visit out web site. Our address is www.bwmaglev.com. I thank you for your kind interest in the subject and would be willing to answer any questions you may have.
Prepared Statement of Bruce Barrows on Behalf of Southern California Association of Governments
Good morning Chairman Quinn and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Bruce Barrows and I am the Mayor Pro-Tem of the City of Cerritos, California. I also serve as a Member of the Southern California Association of Governments Regional Council and as the Vice-Chairman of the organization's Maglev Task Force. Southern California Association of Governments is a joint-powers planning agency encompassing the six-county Southern California counties of Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura; encompassing 185 constituent cities and 16.5 million residentsa region that will grow by 6 million people over the next 25 years.
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My remarks will cover four areas pertaining to the California Maglev Project. They are: (1) The project description; (2) its purpose; (3) financing, and; (4) project benefits.
First, a brief project description:
The initial phase of the California Maglev system is 92 miles in length and serves a corridor that is designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) as both a high-speed rail corridor and a transportation corridor of national significance. This initial segment is depicted by the red line on the map attached to your copies of my remarks.
The proposed project will connect three of the region's airports, including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the nation's third busiest airport, with major population and employment centers in three countiesLos Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside.
The project is one line of a 273-mile network of high-speed lines traversing four counties, which has been adopted as an integral part of the Regional Transportation Plan for Southern California. The 273-mile network is depicted by the red, blue, black and yellow lines on the map attached to your copies of my remarks.
An estimated 134,000 daily riders will use the initial 92-mile segment by 2020. This number represents about 6% of the 2.5 million daily longer-distance, intra-regional trips in the corridor.
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The initial line will generally follow and be located within existing public railroad and freeway rights of way.
Maglev vehicles will operate at top speeds of 240 miles per hour and average about 90 to 100 miles per hour. This compares to current rush hour freeway speeds of 20 to 30 miles per hour.
The purpose of our Maglev project is to serve intra-regional travel needs:
The proposed project provides the only practical means for resolving current traffic congestion problems and meeting growing travel demands. We've looked at a variety of possible alternatives, but each has fatal shortcomings such as excessive cost, severe adverse environmental impacts or significant public opposition.
About 50,000 riders per day will use the initial line to commute between home and work.
About 42,000 riders per day will use it to access airports.
Around 33,000 riders per day will use it to travel between home and other destinations.
Maglev will enable us to better manage the region's airport system and take pressure off of LAX.
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The project will be financed as follows:
The 92-mile high-speed line will cost an estimated $7 billion to construct, in current dollars.
Public funds will be used to complete predeployment planning, including all state and federal environmental clearances.
Construction and operating funding will come from passenger fares, cargo fees and station area concessions.
Project financing will come from the sale of tax-exempt bonds and from federal loans and loans guarantees made available under the federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, more commonly known as ''TIFIA.''
Our financial plan has been reviewed by Goldman Sachs and reflects that firm's own assessment that our project financing is feasible.
On May 3, 2001, the Southern California Association of Governments Regional Council adopted a Business Plan for implementing the California maglev project through a public-private partnership, as called for under the federal Maglev Demonstration Program authorized through TEA21. A key project benefit of national interest is a demonstration of Maglev technology that requires modest involvement and support of the federal government.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To attract private investors for our project, we need to have the California project continue in the federal Maglev Demonstration Program.
Continuing support and involvement of the Department of Transportation is essential.
Our federal funding requirement for the entire $7 billion project is limited to $14 million in federal fiscal years 2002 and 2003 funds, to enable completion of environmental reviews and all other predeployment planning work.
The system will be built and operated under the public-private partnership using only project operating revenues to fund construction and operating costs.
TIFIA loans and loan guarantees would be used to assist in project financing. No further federal grant assistance is requiredwe do not need the $950 million authorized in TEA21 for constructing the California project.
Again, thank you for inviting me to participate in today's hearing. I would be pleased to answer any questions that you may have regarding the California Maglev Deployment Program.
Prepared Statement of Congressman Earl Blumenauer
Today's hearing focuses on an important issue for a growing number of communities across the country that are looking at alternatives for relieving congestion on roads and in the air. Interest in high-speed rail has steadily increased during the last decade. Corridors are being studied in virtually every region of the country, including the Pacific Northwest where we've seen increased ridership on the existing Amtrak service that connects Seattle, Portland, Euguene, Sacramento, and San Francisco.
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Maglev, which has proven successful in Europe, is an additional tool that warrants serious consideration by this Subcommittee to meet the country's growing demand for high-speed rail. TEA21 created a deployment program for Maglev technology. This was a good start, but was only that, a starting point. Congress would do well to pursue this technology more seriously in the next surface transportation reauthorization bill as an option for relieving the congestion that is clogging our highways and airports.
A majority of the major airports in the United States are currently studying airport expansion, or have plans already underway to expand their existing capacity. Much has been made in the past few months over airport expansion delay, and the strong public opposition to building new airports or runways. Europe has addressed their own intercity mobility needs through investments in both rail and airport capacity. High-speed rail speeds are approaching 300 miles per hour, making rail a viable alternative to flying for many of the most-used routes. A high speed rail connection between Seattle and Portland could provide intercity service to passengers in under an hour, certainly comparable to current flight times, and definitely an improvement over the much longer part of the trip currently frustrating to passengersgetting to and from the airport.
Maglev can provide an environmentally sensitive, and efficient new mode of transportation in this country. I have seen firsthand, its successful implementation in Europe. I look forward to working with the Chairman and Ranking Member to help develop high-speed corridors in the United States that may use Maglev or other effective high-speed technologies.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrepared Statement of J. Christopher Brady, President, Transrapid International-USA, Inc.
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Clement, Members of the Committee, it is my pleasure to appear before you today to introduce the Transrapid magnetic levitation (maglev) transportation system. I am Chris Brady, President of Transrapid International-USA, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Transrapid International GmbH & Co. KG, the developer, owner and marketer of the superspeed Transrapid maglev system.
I am joined today by Larry Blow, Transrapid International-USA's (TRI-USA's) senior technical manager. Mr. Blow is an aerospace engineer and has been involved in Maglev for over 13 years in various public, private and advisory roles, including serving as the Chairman of the Maglev Task Force of the High-Speed Ground Transportation Association.
There is a great deal to be said about Maglev in general, its application for high-speed intercity service and about our Transrapid technology in particular. However, we are limiting our remarks today to those most salient to the Subcommittee: How the Transrapid was developed, how it works, its readiness for deployment in the United States and how we are responding to the mandate of the U.S. Maglev Deployment Program, Section 1218 of The Transportation Efficiency Act of 1998 (TEA21).
It is important to note that the Transrapid maglev is the first completely new mode of transportation to be developed since the invention of the airplane. Since it has been designed, tested, and improved in the current age, it is a mode that not only recognizes and embraces contemporary transportation valuessafety, speed, environmental-friendliness and energy efficiencybut it is inherently more reliable and comfortable than any other transportation system.
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Maglev, an idea first patented in Germany in 1934, has been under discussion in the United States since the late 1960s, with research and limited development carried on in the U.S. until the late 1970s. Since that time, maglev has been most aggressively pursued abroad, mainly in Germany and Japan.
As the attached chronology shows, the Transrapid maglev has been developed over a period of nearly 30 years and has been continually tested and improved upon through eight vehicle prototypes and several major infrastructure and operation control system improvements. This decades-long effort culminated with the Transrapid TR08 vehicle which is commercially available today and can be ridden at the full-scale Transrapid test facility in Lathen, Germany.
This test facility has allowed the incident-free transport of 330,000 passengers at speeds of 250 miles per hour since official visitor operations started at the facility in 1992. This experience is responsible for the system attaining a remarkably high level of efficiency, reliablity and refinement, making worldwide deployment a reality today.
The U.S. and Germany have worked together to share testing, development experience and expertise for many years. This close cooperation between the U.S. Department of Transportation and the German Ministry of Transport culminated in the signing of a bilateral Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) on October 10, 2000, between then-Secretary Rodney Slater and then-Minister Reinhardt Klimmt. This MoC commits the parties to collaborate on the deployment of maglev in both countries. It is important to note that the U.S.-German relationship is based upon the tremendous amount of testing and development work done on the Transrapid maglev system and the Certification for passenger service granted to the Transrapid by the German Government. It is our expectation that this work done abroad will serve as the framework for U.S. certification as U.S. projects proceed toward development.
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How does the Transrapid work? The previous video ''Transrapid System and Technology'' explains the fundamentals of system operation. The Transrapid system eliminates contact between vehicle and infrastructure, which means no wear-and-tear on system components. Traditional steel wheel-on-rail systems experience steep increases in system maintenance costs for every mile per hour of increased speed. Unlike high-speed rail, Transrapid realizes considerable cost advantages due to its contact-free design, even with possible top speeds of 300 miles per hour.
Transrapids contact-free system also eliminates typical wheel noise. The most audible signature from a maglev is the sound created from wind resistance. This is an important public-friendly aspect to note as we consider high-speed ground transportation for urbanized areas. Transrapid eliminates the noise considerations that other transportation projects face as a result of ''NIMBY'' objections. And, since a maglev system is relatively impervious to weather conditions and requires little maintenance, people could plan on reliable travel times based on published schedules.
The propulsion system for the Transrapid is attached to the guideway infrastructure rather than carried aboard the vehicle. As such, the guideway carries the power for the system, allowing for more accurate tailoring of the system's power requirements to the demands of the terrain. Only the section of guideway on which the train is travelling needs to be powered, allowing for lower energy consumption than other systems which require constant uninterrupted power for the entire route.
Not inconsequentially, the safety benefits of traveling on a Transrapid are second to none, because the maglev vehicle wraps around its guideway, virtually eliminating the possibility of derailments.
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How much does a Transrapid system for a U.S. corridor cost? While apples-to-apples comparisons are hard to come by, it is important to note that approximately two-thirds of the cost of any project is in the infrastructure, i.e., the foundations, support pillars and guideway beams. The cost of those components is a function of the geotechnical issues one encounters along the alignment and the engineering design approaches utilized; for example, whether the guideway is elevated or at grade.
The Transrapid system, then, accounts for the remaining third of total project costs.
While investment costs for a Transrapid system generally approximate the costs for very high-speed rail systems, the life cycle costs for a Transrapid maglev system, because of its inherently low maintenance characteristics, are much lower and more favorable to sustaining a self-supporting transportation system.
While there are many imponderables with any new project, Transrapid has had two decades of experience with maglev at the full-scale German test facility and thorough detailed advance planning for several projects in-country and worldwide. As a result, our costs are well understood.
The U.S. Maglev Deployment Program, Section 1218 of TEA21, established a nationwide program to conduct feasibility and planning work for projects in the U.S. Of the 11 projects submitting proposals to the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in 1998, seven were selected and have conducted feasibility studies that were submitted to FRA in June 2000. While two of those projects were selected for further development work by then-Secretary Slater on January 18, 2001, the Project Descriptions for all seven projects have presented the most detailed body of record for U.S. maglev deployment projects to date. We are pleased that the Committee will be taking testimony from several of those Project Teams today.
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Transrapid International-USA, Inc. and our parent company have been fortunate to work with numerous U.S. companies that are leaders in the fields of transportation planning and engineering, systems integration, steel and concrete beam production and fabrication, energy companies, ridership analysts and financial institutions, to name just a few. Our relationships with three of the projects from whom you will take testimony todaythe American Magline Group (AMG) for the California-Nevada Project; the Baltimore-Washington Maglev Project; and the Pittsburgh Maglev Projecthave each lasted a decade or more, as in the case of the AMG, which includes U.S. companies General Atomics, Hirschfeld Steel, Parsons Transportation Group and M. Neil Cummings Associates.
With two-thirds of the cost of these projects in the infrastructurewhich is work that must be performed locallycombined with the ''Americanization'' requirements of Section 1218 of TEA21, projects completed under the U.S. Maglev Deployment Program are American projects which are creating a U.S. maglev industry.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, we hope that we have demonstrated to the Committee's satisfaction that the Transrapid is a new mode of transportation designed for the needs of the travelling public in this century. Given this nation's rapid urban and suburban growth, the essential problem of the day is how we are going to more efficiently move people from one place to another. Transrapid has proven it has the flexibility, reliability and speed to deliver people more efficiently, comfortably, and safely to where they want to go. After two decades of testing and refinement, Transrapid is a proven, viable and attractive alternative to unlocking this country's ever-worsening transportation gridlock problemand it is ready to be deployed today.
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When you add the natural job creation benefit of a maglev system to the safety, speed and comfort benefits for the traveling public, and then add in the low noise, low energy consumption, and environmental benefits, maglev technology reveals itself as a 21st century bargain for America.
We appreciate your courtesy in receiving our testimony today. We welcome any questions that you might have.
Prepared Statement of Bob Clement
Mr. Chairman, it is my great pleasure to join you in welcoming our witnesses today to discuss magnetic levitation transportation technology (Maglev). I look forward to learning more about this exciting technology, from its basic operating characteristics to the various Maglev projects being proposed and built around the world. Maglev trains appear to show promise as a tool in our urgent battle against the congestion that clogs our airports and highways. We must be forward thinking and take a proactive approach toward developing new transportation technologies to alleviate this strain. I am anxious to hear how Maglev could be a part of this effort, and I am committed to exploring all of our options in order to solve one of the single greatest threats to our nation's prosperity.
I am initially excited by the prospects of greater efficiency, speed, safety, and environmental responsibility that Maglev offers. Many technologies, from conventional high-speed rail to Maglev, are positioned to help bring America's transportation system into the 21st century. We need to study the merits of these technologies and determine best-use situations for each, assuring a balanced system in which each technology can reach its full potential. I am curious to hear how Maglev could be integrated with existing and proposed conventional railroad passenger operations, including commuter rail, and how it might affect Amtrak. Specifically, when is it appropriate to build new Maglev systems rather than continue to invest in the conventional railroad infrastructure? With the French TGV service now operating at average trip speeds up to 190 MPH on certain dedicated high-speed trackage, conventional high-speed rail also holds promise for congestion relief
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The key to the successful deployment of Maglev, if we decided that indeed it should be implemented on a large scale, will be in determining what role it can best play in our transportation system. As Mr. Oberstar will point out in his statement, Maglev is not a new technology, but rather one we unwisely forsook sometime ago, leaving its development to others. Currently, we have the opportunity through the DOT/FRA Maglev Deployment Program to again study and deploy Maglev technology. I would like to reiterate my support for this program and suggest that the 5 other applicants that were not selected, including the Atlanta-Chattanooga corridor, continue to pursue their projects in some form.
I support this subcommittee's efforts in learning more about it and how we might successfully use Maglev in our great nation. Our current situation demands that we explore new technologies and innovative solutions and make a firm commitment to the modernization of our transportation infrastructure.
Prepared Statement of M. Neil Cummings, Esq., President, American Magline Group Title: President
American Magline Group: Good morning. My name is Neil Cummings and I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today on behalf of the American Magline Group (AMG), a consortium of major American companies dedicated to the building and deployment in the United States of an Americanized version of the TransrapidTM Maglev technology. This technology has been developed in Germany over the past 20 years and is fully certified and approved for passenger use by the German Ministry of Transport.
The AMG team members include General Atomics (magnetic levitation propulsion system), Hirschfeld Steel Company (steel fabrication and Maglev guideway design and construction), Parsons Transportation Group (project management and engineering), Solomon Smith Barney (financial planning: private investment tax exempt bond issuance), URS Greiner (investment-grade ridership and revenue forecast) and Transrapid International-USA (technology transfer/intellectual property provider).
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California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission (Public/Private Partnership): Over the past ten years, the AMG has focused its deployment efforts on the corridor most likely, and best suited to demonstrate this 21st Century technology in the near term. As a result, the AMG has successfully developed the public-private partnership necessary to design, finance, build and operate the 300(+)-mph TransrapidTM Maglev system along the heavily congested I15 corridor between Anaheim, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada, via the California Inland Empire cities of Ontario, Victorville and Barstow.
The AMG's public partner is the California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission, a California non-profit public benefit corporation formed in 1988 for the express purpose of promoting the development of, and issuing a franchise to build a 269-mile high speed train system capable of meeting the transportation, economic, energy and congestion needs and challenges of the 21st Century. With its focus on the 21st Century, the California-Nevada Commission, in 1991, selected the TransrapidTM Maglev technology as the ideal high speed ground transportation system for this corridor. In 1994, the California-Nevada Commission selected the American Magline Group as the ideal private partner to not only build this safe, fast and environmentally friendly technology, but, just as importantly, to assist the Commission in developing the type of wide ranging local, regional, state and federal support necessary to successfully develop a transportation infrastructure project of this magnitude.
When completed, this project will connect:
The fastest growing city (Las Vegas) with the second largest county (Orange, California) in the United States;
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The No. 1 visitor's destination (Las Vegas) with the No. 4 visitor's destination (Orange, California) in the United States;
The California Inland Empire (e.g., Ontario, Victorville and Barstow), which will experience growth equivalent to the addition of two Chicagos within the next ten years;
Nationally significant business, residential and tourist centers which lie along a federal right-of-way (I15) that is already heavily congested, and whose adjacent communities are already experiencing severe air quality challenges: today;
Five major national/international passenger and/or air freight airports (McCarran and Ivanpah Valley, in Nevada, and Victorville, Ontario and John Wayne Airports, in California), two of which will reach capacity within the next ten years (McCarran and John Wayne Airports).
Project Support: As reflected in the comprehensive list attached to this testimony (Exhibit 1), this project has developed the strong support of the region's Congressional representatives in Washington, D.C., as well as the cities, counties and regional planning organizations along the entire 269-mile alignment.
Western Maglev Alliance: An alliance has been formed to bring this country's first revenue service Maglev system to the West. The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)the governmental sponsor of a regional, urban Maglev system to operate within the Southern California Basinhas recently announced its support of ''The First Forty Miles'' as the one project in the United States which should receive any available near-term grant funding made available under the Maglev Deployment Program because, quite simply, (1) this is the project best suited, and best positioned, to be built first in the United States, and operational in the next 35 years; and (2) this project will serve as the catalyst for the development of Maglev throughout the West. The West is the region of the country best suited for, and most in need of, a new high speed transportation which can move people, and light freight, over distances of between 50750 milesat speeds comparable to the airplanein an emissions free, safe, environmental friendly vehicle, on the ground!
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The California-Nevada Commission has, in turn, announced its support for the further development of the Southern California regional Maglev system (sponsored by SCAG) through the immediate implementation of the EIS work necessary to develop a westernmost regional system to which ''The First Forty Miles'' can extend its reach over the next decade.
The Ideal Demonstration Project: The MDP presents this country with the opportunity to develop, in the near term, a prototype Maglev train system operating in ''revenue service'' which can serve as a model, in the long term, for the transport of passengers and air freight at speeds and efficiencies previously achievable only by boarding an airplane.
Meeting long-term challenges requires near-term investment in new technologies. The failed experiences in high speed trains over the past 20 years in Florida, Texas, California and Nevada show that the private sector cannot be expected to shoulder all the financial risks of building a new hi-tech transportation system.
Asking Maglev train manufacturers in 2001 to finance the building of Maglev guideways (i.e., tracks) if they want to sell their trains would be like President Eisenhower asking General Motors, Ford and Chrysler in the early 1950's to finance the building of the national interstate highway system if they want to sell their cars. Not only is the risk of investment too difficult for the private sector to accept, but the tremendous capital costs of building the guideway/highway infrastructure cannot possibly be financed from corporate profits. Whereas, Maglev technology can, as a result of its tremendous speed and low cost of operation, operate at a substantial profit, the initial capital cost of building the infrastructure (i.e., the guideways) on which the trains will operate must be borne by the federal government through a combination of grants, credit enhancements and tax-exempt investments.
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Of courseif at all possibleit is just as important for the federal government to minimize its investment risks as it is for the private sector to do so. Whereas, private corporations must report to their shareholders, the federal government must report to their taxpayers. This points up the importance of the federal government minimizing its financial risk by minimizing the initial capital costs of constructing the first Maglev system in America. Because, whereas the TransrapidTM Maglev technology has been proven through the transport of over 350,000 passengers over 500,000 km on the 20-mile test facility in Germany since its opening in 1984, this technology must still be ''Americanized'' and built in the United States in a commercial, revenue service settingin the near termbefore the technology is deployed on a nationwide scaleover the long term.
''The First Forty Miles'' minimizes the federal government's risks and maximizes the potential rewards! Risks are minimized in four primary ways: (1) lowest possible capital costs for a 40-mile demonstration segment, (2) avoidance of unexpected environmental road blocks, (3) predictability of right-of-way access through use of an interstate highway corridor, and (4) predictability of achieving timely, on budget construction.
It is important to come to grips with the reality that under TEA21's Maglev Deployment Program there is only $950 million ''authorized,'' of which no funding has as of yet been ''appropriated'' for construction of a Maglev project. It will be very difficult to obtain the full $950 million appropriation. Furthermore, even if this appropriation is realized, the law mandates that the federal share can be no more than two-thirds of the total capital cost of building the first Maglev demonstration project. Even assuming, therefore, a one-third ''local'' or private funding match, a $950 million appropriation from the federal government will accommodate a demonstration project with a total capital construction cost of only approximately $1.4 billion.
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In effect, the limited funding available under the Maglev Deployment Program limits the ideal demonstration project to one that is no more than 30 to 40 miles long, and that can be built at a capital cost of no more than $1.4 billion. Further complicating this funding limitation is the requirement of the Maglev Deployment Program that the demonstration project selected must also be extendable so as to become, eventually, a much larger network.
It is respectfully submitted that the only viable project which meets the federal criteria and funding limitations of the MDP is ''The First Forty Miles'' of the 269-mile California-Nevada I15 corridor project. By constructing a 40-mile starter segment between Las Vegas, Nevada, and the California-Nevada state line (at Primm), this project is uniquely positioned to demonstrate this 21st Century technology to the over 40 million people who visit Las Vegas each year from all parts of the United States, and the world.
Extensions of ''The First Forty Miles'' will follow the I15 corridor to Barstow, Victorville, Ontario and Anaheim, California.(see footnote 2) The completed 269-mile East-West network will eventually be an intermodal link to the San Francisco-Los Angeles-San Diego, North-South high speed ground transportation system currently being planned by the California High Speed Rail Authority.
''The First Forty Miles'' presents a flat, low desert terrain which will pose no unexpected, or costly environmental or construction problems. No tunneling will be required. No homes or residents will be relocated. The 40(+) million visitors each year to Las Vegas, plus the passengers in the 25 million cars that travel on this stretch of the I15 corridor each year (which is expected to double to at least 45 million vehicles within the next ten years) will have the opportunity to visualize and experience the advantages of traveling in 300-mph air conditioned comfort as an alternative to driving their cars. As energy prices, and congestion on the highways continue to escalate, this ''Maglev'' alternative will no longer be just a theoretical alternativeit will become a very real and accepted mode of transportation!
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''The First Forty Miles'' intends to complete its Environmental Impact Statement within 18 months. ''The First Forty Miles'' intends to be built and operating by the Fall of 2004, and fully tested, certified and in ''revenue service'' by the Fall of 2005.
''The First Forty Miles'' Is Eligible for Construction Funding Under the MDP: There are only two events called out for in the MDP statute. One is the selection of projects for ''Preconstruction planning activities'' (subparagraph (f)(1)), and the other is the selection of one project for ''Final design, engineering and construction activities'' (subparagraph (f)(2)).
Because ''The First Forty Miles'' was one of the seven projects selected under the MDP for ''Preconstruction planning activities'' funding, it is now and shall remain eligible for both additional ''Preconstruction planning'' and ''Final design, engineering and construction activities.'' The decision of former Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater to award the remaining $14 million of contract authority available in FY2001 to the Baltimore-Washington and Pittsburgh projects ($7 million each) was simply an award of the remaining ''Preconstruction planning activities'' funding. ''The First Forty Miles''and the other six Maglev projects originally selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation, for that matterremain eligible for any additional Preconstruction planning activities funding which may be appropriated by Congress in FY2002 or 2003, and for the ''Final design, engineering and construction activities'' for which the MDP has ''authorized'' $950 million. No decision was made by former Secretary Slater concerning the award of all or any part of the $950 million in ''Final design, engineering and construction funding.''
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Realistically, however, Congress cannot be expected to ''appropriate'' any of the ''authorized'' $950 million in construction funding unless and until Congress is convinced that there is, in fact, a project that is, indeed, ready, willing and able to commence and complete construction in the ''near term'' (as required by the MDP). And, in appropriating such funding, Congress must also be convinced that the chosen construction project will not become a ''big dig.''
Conclusion: ''The First Forty Miles'' presents the ideal opportunity to Congress to minimize its risks, and maximize the potential benefits of the ''near-term'' construction of a Maglev system in the United States. The Chinese have already broken ground on a Maglev project in Beijing, utilizing the same Transrapid TM technology which the AMG intends to build along the I15 corridor. The United States should be the first to demonstrate Maglev in revenue service. Respectfully, it is submitted that ''The First Forty Miles'' represents our best, and only chance to be first, on time and on budget!(see footnote 3)
Finally, it is worth emphasizing that while ''The First Forty Miles'' presents the ideal first demonstration project, the extended 269-mile I15 corridor presents the perfect corridor in which to demonstrate the advantages of 300-mph Maglev travel. Maglev is not meant to be, nor designed to serve, the short-hop commuter marketwhich may be best left to 60150-mph Amtrak or Metrolink service. Maglev is designed, in the ideal long-range setting, to provide a high speed, intercity ground transportation solution to relieve ever increasing airport and highway congestion, and pollution. Maglev provides this solution by moving people and light freight quickly and safely, in emissions-free vehicles, over longer distances. Given the choice of a 5 1/2-hour car ride or a 90-minute airplane flight from Anaheim to Las Vegas vs. an 86-minute Maglev train ride, which would you choose?
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Prepared Statement of Dr. Fred J. Gurney, President and CEO, MAGLEV, Inc., Monroeville, PA
Mr. Chairman, Members, Staff and interested partiesThank you for the opportunity to testify before this committee.
We believe that the United States needs to develop a national initiative for high-speed magnetic levitation transportation. It is a new mode of transportation that can solve multiple problems. It accelerates and decelerates four times faster than the best trains in the world today. It can cruise at speed in excess of 300 mph. It climbs grades over three times steeper than traditional railroads. These features make it ideally suited for application in southwestern Pennsylvania. This new mode of transportation, developed and perfected by Transrapid International of Germany, is the solution to our problem.
Three weeks ago several Members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee visited Germany and rode on the Transrapid International maglev system at speeds in excess of 250 mph. They can verify that the technology is fully developed and ready for revenue service.
Pittsburgh has been pursuing this technology for fifteen years starting with a Carnegie Mellon University assessment of the next generation trains for the United States. Eleven years ago, in February 1990, MAGLEV, Inc. was incorporated to realize this goal. It is made up of a combination of a dedicated technology team and a broad consortium of industry, organized labor and academia.(see footnote 4) Other regional and government leaders are represented on the Board. One of our industry representatives, Mr. Bruce Haines, a Vice President of U.S. Steel is here today. MAGLEV, Inc.'s offices are located in the Tech One Office and Research Center east of Pittsburgh and currently has twenty five (25) employees who are fully dedicated to development of various aspects of an Americanized technology that will be needed for deployment of highspeed maglev in the United States. Our corporate team includes organizations that are recognized as international and national industry leaders. They provide specialized expertise needed for the deployment of an Americanized high-speed maglev. Our core team provides the continuity and synergistic integration of the various aspects of the total system technology. This combined industry and core team has been working together for nearly 15 years and has developed a solid integrated team with the focus of bringing high-speed maglev to Pennsylvania. To date, our combined activities have resulted in several volumes of technical assessments and evaluations and two U.S. patents related to the application of this technology in the United States. We are now teamed with the Port Authority of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania in a public-private partnership as The Pennsylvania Project.
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WHY MAGLEV IN PITTSBURGH?
Many areas throughout the country need improved transportation systems. While some areas have more than one option as a means to improve their transportation network, southwestern Pennsylvania, and Pittsburgh in particular, does not. We are constrained by three rivers that impact the region. They are often bounded by steep ridges and situated in a generally hilly topography in a region that is well developed. We have no land available to construct additional highways. The principal traffic through the city is along an East-West corridor that squeezes traffic through two sets of tunnels and over a bridge where the necessary configuration of the access ramps results in heavy cross-lane traffic.
While our options are limited, the high-speed maglev technology of Transrapid International is the one solution universally agreed upon by the regional Metropolitan Planning Organization, the state General Assembly, the governor, the mayor and representatives from southwestern Pennsylvania and from the City of Pittsburgh, regional county representatives, the Allegheny County Airport Authority (Greater Pittsburgh), the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, many civic leaders, all of the regional Chambers of Commerce and individual citizens and many other groups. Most importantly, they are all on record in their support.
Our professional ridership study fiscally justifies the construction of high-speed maglev and our increasing traffic problems clearly justify its need. Pittsburgh is within a 500-mile radius of half the population of the United States and Canada. That distance encompasses 63 percent of the total industrial output of our country. Our multi-state regional maglev plan incorporates this density ranging from Chicago through Cleveland to New York and Washington.
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The Pittsburgh location and topography will demonstrate what we know to be a technological factthat high-speed maglev can efficiently operate in all types of terrain and weather throughout all four seasons. Our initial phase system will operate at speeds in excess of 260 mph over terrain where such speed was previously assumed unattainable by any transportation mode.
The construction of the system in Pennsylvania is based on the use of elevated guideway to assure the safest form of transportation. The guideway itself can be produced from either concrete or steel; we will use steel. We have evaluated both and determined that steel will produce a lower life cycle cost. An aspect related to our decision is our concern about the United States' industrial base and use of steel for the guideway is a core element of that base. We believe that the development and construction of high-speed maglev will create a market for steel in the United States and will be a major factor in revitalizing the steel industry. Maglev uses approximately 5,000 tons of steel per mile of dual guideway or about one ton of steel per foot. Concrete will be used in the foundation and columns. We estimate that nearly 6,000 cubic yards of concrete will be utilized for each mile of guideway.
The Pennsylvania Project has a dual objectivethe first is to initiate an effective new mode of transportation and the second is to develop precision fabrication technology for large-scale steel structures that would be transferable to other industries throughout the country. The precision fabrication required for the production of the guideway has heretofore been considered as prohibitively expensive for commercial purposes. This reasoning was based on conventional fabrication processes. One of our patents focuses on the guideway fabrication methodology with the potential for increased precision and reduced cost. We are confident that the technology is available to make a dramatic cost reduction over the traditional fabricating methods.
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Construction cost for a dual guideway maglev is $40 million per mile. This compares favorably in a cost per mile ratio against the construction of a four lane interstate highway while providing two and a half times the capacity of the fourlane highway. When life cycle costs of the two are compared, the maglev system is significantly more economical. Representative costs of various modes of transportation are detailed in our accompanying written testimony.
Inherent in the Transrapid design are low operating costs, low maintenance costs and low energy usage. All are significant factors over a life cycle of up to eighty (80) years and will produce tremendous savings and thereby further justify immediate construction of maglev systems in the United States. As an intercity connector, high-speed maglev will be very cost-effective per passenger mile. It can relieve a significant portion of the air traffic congestion in many airports that is attributable to shorter commuter flights, thereby freeing airspace for larger planes and longer flights. At the same time, high-speed maglev would improve the reliability of transportation in replacing these current commuter flights because it is not affected by fog, snow, heavy rain or other weather conditions commonly cited as the causes of delay to air traffic.
Today, the United States is facing a series of crises and concerns. We have a concern about energy availability in the West Coast, and our vocabulary now includes terms such as road rage and air rage, expressing our frustration about congestion on our highways and in our airways. We hear ever more concern about our environment. While these concerns exist, still more people want to travel more often and over greater distances than ever traveled beforeit is an ever increasing phenomenon. The development of high-speed maglev can have a positive impact on all of these concerns.
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What makes MAGLEV, Inc. unique among the various organizations that have considered the deployment of high-speed maglev is its history of developing the precision fabrication technology essential to the cost effective construction of the guideway. While building maglev will move our nation's transportation infrastructure to the next level, the spin-off opportunities will impact our nation's economy in ways that range far and wide. The precision fabrication technology we are developing will totally revamp our ship building industry. Additionally, it will save millions of dollars in the construction and refurbishment of bridges in the U.S. Every dollar spent on precision fabrication will provide returns to our nation's quality of life and the economy far in excess of just providing a twenty-first century transportation system.
In summary, there are several points that I would like the committee to remember.
(1) Transrapid's high-speed system is revenue ready and can make an impact on our nation's transportation needs for our nation's long-term future.
25 years of development has brought us to the eighth generation of the vehicle system.
Revenue paying passengers have been riding Transrapid for more than five years
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC (2) The MAGLEV, Inc. team has been dedicated to this technology for almost 15 years.
Industry of national and international leaders;
Core team of fully dedicated engineering and support personnel; and
Activities have produced two patents and more than 30 technical reports on Americanizing the technology.
(3) Southwestern Pennsylvania provides an ideal location to demonstrate the full potential of high-speed maglev:
Hill climbing capability;
Operation in all climatic conditions;
Relieves airport congestion;
High speed operation;
Link of the populous northeastern cities with the large cities of the Midwest;
Solves an immediate transportation problem;
(4) Technology developments are transferable to other industries and greatly increase the market for steel;
Stimulates advanced manufacturing with robotics and computer controlled processes;
(5) Related benefits enhance the use of maglev transportation technology. These include:
Improvement in air quality;
Lower energy usage;
Lower land use; and
Improved quality of life.
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Hon. JACK QUINN,
|MAGLEV, INC., |
|July 24, 2001 |
Rayburn House Office Building,
DEAR CONGRESSMAN QUINN, As per your request for the Railroad Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, we have estimated the number of jobs created by the Pennsylvania Maglev Project. This is summarized in the attached fact sheet.
If you need additional information, please contact us.
Fact Sheet No. 1
|Fred J. Gurney,|
|President and CEO. |
JOBS CREATED BY HIGH-SPEED MAGLEV (BASED ON DEVELOPING AND INSTALLING 100 MILES OF DUAL GUIDEWAY PER YEAR)
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFor the initial 47 miles constructed over four years, this will be about 3500 to 4500 jobs per year of the estimated construction time of four years.
Additionally, there are thousands of future spin-off jobs related to precision steel fabrication technology in the following industries: shipbuilding, bridge construction, and other large steel structures fabrication that would benefit from more efficient means of fabrication.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF S. MARK LINDSEY, ACTING DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR, FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I am pleased to represent the Department of Transportation today at this hearing to discuss high-speed magnetic levitation transportation, most frequently referred to as ''Maglev''.
Maglev represents a fundamentally new form of transportation technology arguably as innovative as aviation was in the early years of the last century. And like those observing the pioneers of aviation during the early years of the 20th century, it is unclear how and when Maglev will move from technological wonder to practical element of the nation's transportation system.
The key word with regard to Maglev is potential. Maglev has seen substantial technological development in recent decades and been the source of much discussion and debate. But Maglev has yet to enter into commercial service, let alone demonstrate that it can compete economically with existing forms of transportation. The challenge facing Maglev is to move from potential to realitynot in the technological sense since both the Germans and Japanese have demonstrated workable Maglev technologies. The challenge that faces Maglev is to produce a technology that is workable in the economic sense; that is, a technology that represents a cost-effective alternative for addressing identifiable transportation needs.
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As with any totally new transportation facilitybe it Maglev, or a new transit system, or a new airportsignificant capital will be required before the first passenger is moved. Moreover, new transportation systems will have continuing operating and maintenance costs. One impediment that has confronted Maglev throughout the world is that, in the absence of experience in constructing and operating a commercial system, there is a much greater degree of uncertainty in accurately estimating the costs and, thus the net benefits of Maglev, than there are with other competing transportation investments. Some studies, including FRA's 1997 report High-Speed Ground Transportation for America, indicates that the number of corridors where Maglev's total benefits exceed total costs are extremely limited.
It has been a point of pride at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) that we have the opportunity to be the lead Federal agency in exploring the potential of Maglev. In helping to remove some of the uncertainty associated with Maglev, FRA can provide a valuable role in helping the Administration and Congress develop an informed policy toward this new technology.
FRA's experience with Maglev dates back through the history of this agency. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Office of High-Speed Ground Transportation, one of the agencies merged to form FRA upon creation of the Department of Transportation in 1966, performed some of the earliest research into Maglev and its component technologies. In the early 1990s, FRA led an interagency partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Energy called the National Maglev Initiative (NMI). The final report of the NMI, published in September 1993, was the first truly comprehensive assessment of Maglev technology and the challenges that it faces.
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In response to a specific provision in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, FRA undertook efforts needed to support a proposed demonstration of Maglev technology near Orlando, Florida. FRA initiated an environmental review and made substantial progress in developing a rule of particular applicability under the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 that would have governed the safety aspects of the operation of this system if it had been built. However, after substantial planning and analysis had been undertaken by FRA, the project sponsor concluded that the project was uneconomic with the level of public funding then available and the project was terminated.
FRA developed significant knowledge and expertise in Maglev technologies and related issues from the work undertaken as part of the NMI and the first Florida Maglev project. FRA undertook extensive reviews of the design parameters of contemporary Maglev technologies including critical safety elements, construction constraints, and transportation capabilities. FRA even used aircraft to simulate the effects on passenger comfort of significant changes in grade at high-speed. FRA undertook extensive measurements of the external aspects of Maglev technology such as noise. It was through this program that FRA became the lead agency in the Department for evaluation of electromagnetic field effects (EMF) and health-related issues. We continue to fund research into EMF through the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center.
Most of the people who worked on these efforts are still with FRA. The knowledge FRA learned prepared this agency well for the next Maglev program established by Congress. Section 1218 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA21) authorized the Magnetic Levitation Transportation Technology Deployment Program. Under this program, the Secretary is authorized to fund up to two-thirds of the cost of a project to demonstrate in revenue service a Maglev system sponsored by one or more States or agencies designated by one or more States. In effect this is to be a contest among competing proposals, with the statute specifically providing that ''after the completion of preconstruction planning activities, the Secretary shall select 1 of the projects to receive financial assistance for final design, engineering and construction activities.'' Section 1218 also provided $60 million in contract authority from the Highway Trust Fund and $950 million in noncontract authority authorization of appropriations from the Highway Trust Fund to carry out the program.
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Upon enactment of TEA21, FRA developed an interim regulation to guide implementation of the Maglev Deployment Program. This regulation was published in the Federal Register on October 13, 1998. A subsequent final rule (49 C.F.R. Part 268) was published on January 14, 2000. FRA received 11 responses from its solicitation of expressions of interest to participate in the program. Seven of these (California, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, and Pennsylvania) were selected to receive funding to undertake the planning necessary to develop detailed project descriptions. At the same time, FRA initiated a programmatic environmental impact statement to be part of the Secretary's decision-making process as the Maglev Deployment Program advanced.
On June 30, 2000, the project teams submitted the detailed project descriptions to FRA. This documentation provided information for each proposal on: projected environmental effects, the anticipated costs of construction, the technology to be used, attributes of proposed equipment including operating and maintenance costs, estimates of ridership and revenues, an implementation schedule, an operating plan, a finance plan, and a management plan defining a public-private partnership to plan, finance, construct and operate the Maglev demonstration.
FRA established a multi-disciplined selection review team of senior experts from the Department, with backgrounds in Maglev technology and related fields, to evaluate the project descriptions. The project descriptions were evaluated as to their strengths and weaknesses regarding factors that reflected the criteria contained in Section 1218 including: State and Community Support, Purpose of the Project, Service Characteristics, Environmental Obstacles, Construction Financing, Financing Ongoing Operations, Total Project Benefits Versus Costs, Technical Readiness and Implementation Schedule, and Status of Project Eligibility.
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On January 18, 2001, former Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater identified the two best projects to receive funding to complete their preconstruction planning efforts. These are the projects proposed by Maryland (downtown Baltimore to downtown Washington, D.C. via. BWI Airport) and Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh Airport to downtown Pittsburgh to the suburban communities of Monroeville and Greensburg). As provided for in the FY 2001 Department of Transportation Appropriations Act, FRA is in the process of making available approximately $900,000 in funding to each of the five projects that were not identified by the Secretary. The Maryland and Pennsylvania projects will each receive approximately $7.1 million in Federal funds. When matched on the statutory 2/3 Federal to 1/3 non-Federal basis, these amounts will total approximately $10.7 million for each of the Maryland and Pennsylvania projects.
It is currently anticipated that the Maryland and Pennsylvania projects will complete most of their preconstruction planning activities next year. At that point, the Secretary's designee will be in a position to decide on the future direction of the Maglev program including which project, if either, should proceed to the final design, engineering and construction stages of the Program.
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to appear here today to discuss this exciting technology. I would be happy to answer questions from the Committee.
Prepared Statement of Hon. James L. Oberstar
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me begin by congratulating Chairman Quinn and Ranking Member Clement on putting together this first hearing on a high-speed rail technology that could hold the long-term solution to our nation's growing air and highway traffic congestion problems. Magnetic levitation technology was invented in the United States and from the 1960s through the mid-1970s the United States was a world leader in Maglev research.
Under the High Speed Ground Transportation Act of 1965, the Federal Railroad Administration sponsored research on various magnetic levitation systems. Projects sponsored by FRA led to the development of the linear induction motor, the propulsion system employed by current Maglev prototypes. Back in 1974, a vehicle propelled by a linear motor vehicle reached 255 miles per hour at the DOT test center in Pueblo, Colorado. Other U.S. organizations, including the National Science Foundation, also sponsored Maglev research. But, in 1975 our government suspended all funding for Maglev research, effectively abandoning the field to other nations, especially Germany and Japan who have since spent billions in developing and perfecting this technology.
Our actions with respect to Maglev development stand in stark contrast to the actions of the French government under President De Gaulle. When he was presented with the TGV high-speed rail technology option, there was much opposition within his cabinet to going ahead with the project. Many of his advisors said that the cost was too high and that the future potential was too uncertain. But President De Gaulle understood the moment. He asked what other nations possessed this technology, this capability. When his advisors answered that only France had the technology, he told them to go ahead and build it. President De Gaulle saw an opportunity for France to take the lead in a potentially important technology and he seized it. Today, with its extensive network of TGV trains crisscrossing the French countryside and now extending into other European nations, France leads the world in the application of conventional high-speed rail technology.
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I am not suggesting that we should aggressively pursue each and every technology that shows itself technically feasible. Clearly, there are some things than can be done, but economics or other considerations might suggest should not be done. Indeed, this might be the case of Maglev. The Germans and the Japanese have demonstrated the technical feasibility of Maglev through years of testing at their research facilities. Rather, the question has always been whether Maglev can fill an important niche in our transportation system and whether it can do so at a reasonable cost.
Most prior comparisons of Maglev and conventional steel wheel on steel rail high-speed systems have indicated that Maglev was substantially more expensive to build. And while Maglev had certain operating advantages, such as greater acceleration and higher average operating speeds, conventional rail has also improved and the TGV, for example, has achieved speeds in excess of 300 mph, albeit under very special conditions. In addition, no one has yet stepped up to the plate and actually built a commercial Maglev system. The Germans planned to build a Maglev route between Hamburg and Berlin to demonstrate the feasibility of commercial service, but the new Social Democratic government scrapped the project when it took over two years ago.
Today, however, there is a renewed interest in this technology. Maglev developers claim that costs have come down and when one considers the lower maintenance costs with Maglev, its life-cycle cost can be very favorable. In addition, growing congestion and delays at our nation's airports require that we find some alternative means to move people now flying relatively short distances. Research has shown that to get people to switch from air to rail, the rail travel time must be less than three hours. Maglev with its high operating speeds and ability to accelerate rapidly could potentially divert significant numbers of short-distance air travelers from congested hub airports, thereby freeing up scarce airway and gate capacity for longer-distance travel that must be done by air. Roughly 17 percent of all the passengers flying to Chicago's O'Hare Airport originate at airports that would be served by the Midwest High-Speed rail corridor identified by the Secretary of Transportation.
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Next week, Representative Amo Houghton and I will introduce the High Speed Rail Investment Act of 2001, giving Amtrak the authority to issue $12 billion over the next 10 years to fund high-speed rail projects in corridors around the nation. This bill also provides the flexibility for Amtrak to ''re-lend'' the bond proceeds to other potential builders and operators and could include qualified Maglev projects.
I believe that we are on the threshold of a new age of passenger rail travel in America. The realization that we cannot continue to rely only on air and highway passenger transportation needs requires that we seriously examine all the alternativesand magnetic levitation is one of those alternatives. I look forward to hearing from our expert witnesses.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Prepared Statement of Lew Oliver,
Vice-President, American Maglev Technology, Inc.
Good morning Chairman Quinn, Ranking Member Clement and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee, on behalf of the entire AMT team, thank you very much for the opportunity to testify before you this morning.
As each of you knows very well, the nation's transportation problems grow worse by the day, and we have sought for decades to find alternatives, especially high-speed ground alternatives. I am privileged to bring you some exciting news on that subject. After decades of American interest, fascination and frustration with maglev technology, I can today invite each and every one of you to be our and Congressman Mica's guests this fall in Florida to ride this nation's first and only operational maglev technology system.
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On December 26, 2000, AMT became the first commercial maglev company in the world to execute a contract for the installation and operation of a permanent, elevated, passenger-carrying maglev system. The good news is that that system will be constructed right here in the United Statesbirthplace of maglevon the campus of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, a scant few hours from here in the nearby state of Virginia. The better news is that project will actually be fully operational less than one year from today, carrying ODU students, staff and visitors 16 hrs a day, 365 days a year. The best news is that you ought to be able to actually see, touch and ride the vehicle and system at its test facility in Florida in the next 45 months. Tangible and dramatic maglev progress is just that close to reality. Moreover, site work at ODU campus is now underway: the first pile of the elevated structure will be driven next week.
This project was made possible by an unprecedented degree of collaboration, support, foresight and leadership from the Commonwealth of Virginia Governor, Legislature and Department of Transportation, Old Dominion University administration and staff, and AMT's own terrific private sector team. One-half of the project's $14 million budget is supplied by the Commonwealth of Virginia, the other half by AMT's private sector team, which has put its money where its mouth is. Notably, not a dime of the project budget to date has come from the federal government. Indeed, this may be the only example in the last 50 years where a major new public transportation technology has advanced this far without any federal money at all.
However, this was not for lack of trying. This project was originally conceived as a 1/3 1/3 1/3 program of private sector, state government and federal government support totaling $21 million. As some of you know, through the kind efforts of the Virginia congressional delegation, the team was able to secure a FY '99 mark of $2 million toward the federal portion of that goal. Unfortunately, a delay in starting the program resulted in the loss of that funding. However, what is significant about that mark was that it was obtained through the efforts of the Virginia Legislature, which had already stepped up to the plate in 1998 with $7 million, and which was seeking a partial match from the federal government after the fact. This ''State-first'' approach is in dramatic contrast to the usual ''starting inside the beltway'' approach, and we'd like to return to that original formula in the near future.
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Despite the $2 million loss, and in the best tradition of American entrepreneurship and creativity, the AMT team, Virginia and ODU simply reconfigured the project without federal funds and carried on anyway. I am proud to tell you that we come here today having achieved our primary objective entirely without federal help.
How is it that the AMT team, together with Virginia and ODU, were able to accomplish this extraordinary achievement when others have been diligently at work in the arena for decades without similar success?
The reason is as old as American ingenuity and as simple as Adam Smith's laws of economics: AMT believes that its all-American team has successfully designed the first maglev technology that is genuinely affordable. That is, we can build a fully elevated, dual track, high-speed system, complete with vehicles, stations and controls, throughout most of this country for at or under $20 million per mile. This $20 million/mile figure is not ''magic'', but it does have considerable significancea number of studies have estimated that a maglev-type system at this cost per mile can pay for itself in thousands of miles the highest passenger density routes in the country. Significantly, when I say ''pay for itself'', I mean cover its capital costs/dent service as well as operational expenses. From the perspective of this committee, this point cannot be overemphasized: what we are talking about here is not merely the prospect that you could have a significant network of congestion-busting, high speed maglev lines for an acceptable or tolerable government subsidy, but rather that you can have world-class systems for no government subsidy at all. It's important to note that we won't be able to cover the entire country with such a systemthe economics still won't work in a lot of routes, but they will work for the routes that serve the bulk of the travelling public. And even where we can't cover debt service, we can very likely cover operating expenses.
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Why does our technology cost a fraction of the cost of other maglevs or of high-speed rail? While this is not the time for a technical briefing, the reason is essentially that our technology is much newer, has absorbed the lessons of the older technologies, and has greatly simplified the entire approach to maglev. More specifically, this meansin ascending order of importance to overall cost(1) our vehicles are simpler than other systems and therefore cheaper to build, (2) partly because of the simplicity, our vehicles are lighter weight, which translates into very significantly lower guideway structural costs and (3) our guideway technology is extremely simple, passive and ''dumb'' while other maglev guideways are complex, active and ''smart''. The last reason is the most significant. We have replaced complex and expensive expanses of machinery and motors and windings of other maglevs with some simple, inexpensive steel.
And that low price, members of the committee, is why we have achieved the support and/or investment of savvy and credible private sector investors, the State of Virginia and Old Dominion University. If all we proposed to accomplish at ODU was a smallthough highly advancedtransit system, no one would have been interested, not even AMT itself. However, AMT's team, which includes one of the nation's largest and most innovative utilitiesDominion Resourcesand arguably the world's finest technology builderLockheed Martinhave made a solid case that we can not only deliver what we have promised at ODU, but much faster, much larger systems as welland do so profitably and soon. That is why the Commonwealth of Virginia is interested in this projectthey have some of the most challenging transportation problems in the country, especially in the I95 corridor from DC to Richmond. But, like everyone else, they cannot begin to afford other maglevs or high-speed rail. They therefore hope and expect thatif the ODU project is successfulour team will propose larger, higher-speed projects in Virginia. We have promised to do that in Virginia (as well as elsewhere) and they have promised to take such proposals seriously. While aggressive, this is a prudent, ''stepped'' approach, well within the capabilities of this team.
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We know perfectly well we have a lot to prove, but we are well on the way to getting that proof even as we speak, far faster than I expect any of you ever imagined possible. We're up to the task. We want you to know that we have the affordable, viable answer to a trillion dollars' worth of infrastructure challengeshigh, medium and low speedover the next 25 years. Help is on the way.
It is sometimes said that the good Lord helps those who help themselves. If you'll forgive the minor blasphemy of comparing the federal government to the good Lord, then I hope you'll allow me to suggest that if any team had ever earned your support and assistance, this one has. We have done more for less, with better results and quicker progress, at lower cost, with more private investment, than anyone who has ever worked in this arena. The Germans and Japanese have spent literally billions of dollars on maglev without ever selling a single one. Yet our all-American team has beaten them all to the punch. While the ODU project is relatively short and low-speed, it will prove all the fundamentals. More importantly, the test phase in Edgewater will prove higher speeds and performance as well. When we reconfigured the project after our federal mark went away, we cut still higher speed demonstration scope from the program. We would like to put that scope back in. We would be grateful if you and your colleagues could help us do that, so that I can send you on an even more impressive ''E-ticket'' ride in the very near future. And it would certainly be a novelty to have a major technical demonstration in which the federal contribution is 20 cents on the dollar on the back end rather than 80 cents on the dollar up front.
Finally, there will be those who will say this can't be done. How can a group of private American companies do on a shoestring in a few years what the entire German and Japanese governments haven't done on billions in decades? Because this is what America is all about. We went to the moon in 8 years and yet there are AmericansAmericans, mind youwho will tell you that we can't possibly make a 200300-mph ground transportation system work in less than decade. I'll let you in on a secrethave we got a surprise for them! Thank you very much.
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Prepared Statement of the Atlanta-Chattanooga Maglev Consortium
The Atlanta-Chattanooga Maglev Consortium thanks the Subcommittee for this opportunity to provide testimony regarding the Magnetic Levitation Transportation Technology Deployment Program (Maglev).
The Atlanta-Chattanooga Maglev Consortium is made up of representatives from the following organizations:
Atlanta Regional Commission;
Georgia Department of Transportation;
Georgia Regional Transportation Authority;
Georgia Rail Passenger Authority;
The Chattanooga Institute;
The City of Chattanooga;
Coosa Valley Regional Development Center;
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North Georgia Regional Development Center; and
Cobb County Department of Transportation
These organizations have been working together for over two years to bring magnetic levitation technology to our region. We have determined that Maglev is, in fact, feasible and would provide a much needed transportation alternative that is both clean and safe.
The Magnetic Levitation Transportation Program is an important and exciting program designed to develop a new and much improved mode of ground transportation. As our nation's, but especially the Greater Atlanta Metro Area's, airways and highways become more and more congested and our environment and quality of life are threatened, it is essential that we take advantage of every opportunity to find new and better ways to improve our mobility and enhance our environment.
Available Maglev technology is the fastest, most sophisticated ground-transportation system in the world and has been tested at operating speeds of over 240 mph. The technology selected for the Atlanta-Chattanooga Corridor is Transrapid, a system that has been in research and development in Germany since the late 1960's. Transrapid rides over a fixed guideway supported, guided and propelled by magnetic force alone with virtually no moving parts.
The Atlanta-Chattanooga Maglev project brings together two key southeastern cities and states in a collaborative effort to improve future transportation options. It provides economic development opportunities and will create approximately 6,000 new jobs. We believe the AtlantaChattanooga region should be one of the first in the nation to manufacture and deploy this exciting new technology. While the project will not solve all existing transportation and air quality problems in the region, it certainly will provide an option that helps air quality and traffic congestion in both Georgia and Tennessee. In addition, the new transportation system could reduce the investment in infrastructure necessary at the Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport (HAIA), provide a reduction in commuter flights between Atlanta and Chattanooga, and therefore, extend the life of the $5.4 billion Masterplan improvement program that HAIA is initiating.
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Since our study's inception in August of 1999, much progress has been made in defining the details of the proposed Atlanta to Chattanooga Maglev service. First, ridership and fare analysis have shown that the project is indeed feasible, particularly with the level of passenger travel to and from Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport.
Second, it is clear that the Atlanta-Chattanooga Project would meet the criteria set by the Federal Railroad Administration to comply with all aspects of the Maglev legislation in TEA21.
Ultimately two distinct Maglev services will be operated. Initially a local project service will be operated between Hartsfield Airport and Town Center in Cobb County. The 30-mile plus trip will stop in central Atlanta and Galleria stations. Once the line is extended to the Chattanooga Airport, additional service will operate between Hartsfield and Chattanooga, stopping at all intermediate stations or with express service directly between the airports.
While the cost is still being determined, experience demonstrates that the range will likely be comparable to that of the MARTA system in Atlanta on a cost per mile basis. Operating cost is expected to be paid by a combination of revenue from riders and the public-private partnership. Federal and/or local operating subsidies will not be requested for operations or maintenance support.
The Maglev deployment program is quickly reaching a crossroads where decisions have to be made about its long term potential and future. There is great interest among the seven sponsors to continue to move forward. While final Environmental Impact Statements have not been completed, it is clear that, at a minimum, Atlanta-Chattanooga, and perhaps all seven projects competing for federal funding, will offer a successful deployment opportunity for this exciting new technology.
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Long-term decisions about Maglev deployment will be made in the next authorization bill. We urge the Subcommittee to give due consideration to this exciting new technology and particularly its application in the Atlanta-Chattanooga corridor.
We want to thank the Subcommittee for the opportunity to provide this testimony and we would be pleased to respond to any questions. Please contact Robert McCord at the Atlanta Regional Commission (4044633253) for any followup that may be required.
Chairman JACK QUINN,
|United States Senate,|
|Washington, DC, June 21, 2001.|
Congressman BOB CLEMENT,
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Railroads, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
DEAR CHAIRMAN QUINN AND CONGRESSMAN CLEMENT: A joint Georgia and Tennessee Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) train project was among the final seven such projects proceeding to final consideration. As you know, days before Secretary Rodney Slater left office, he selected two proposals to continue forward in the processBaltimore-Washington and Pittsburgh. The Atlanta-Chattanooga project was rumored to be the next choice, if three had been chosen. I supported this project, and I look forward to working further to develop a nationwide high speed rail system.
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The nation's transportation policy makers and planners must consider nontraditional modes of transportation if we are going to combat the problem of clean air. As some of you may know, Metropolitan Atlanta is in violation of the Clean Air Act. Although a successful conformity plan has been approved by the appropriate agencies, this approval hangs in a delicate balance. The Atlanta-Chattanooga maglev project would have aided in promoting nontraditional transportation by removing travelers to airports from the roadways. This route would have connected Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, the busiest airport in the world, and Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.
Unfortunately, because of other commitments I am not able to express my enthusiasm for this project and this technology in person, but I applaud this Committee for today's hearing. Hopefully, the excitement for maglev will spread so that other communities may realize the potential for safe, efficient, and fast travel it presents. I would also like to direct the Subcommittee's attention to the written testimony submitted by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) in support of both the Maglev Deployment Program (MDP)(Section 1218 of TEA21) and the Atlanta-Chattanooga Maglev project.
Thank you for allowing me to present my views. If my staff or I can provide further information on the MDP and the Atlanta-Chattanooga project, please do not hesitate to let me know.
(Footnote 1 return)
''Moving America New Directions, New OpportunitiesFinal Report on The National Maglev Initiative'' July 1993 and ''High-Speed Ground Transportation For America'' September 1997.
(Footnote 2 return)
An alternative to the immediate extension of ''The First Forty Miles'' westward to Barstow (a total distance of 163 miles) is the building of ''The Second First Forty Miles'' between Anaheim and Ontario. There is tremendous local support for this segment (which would then be extended eastward to meet the westward extensions from Nevada). However, there will be unavoidably delays in finalizing environmental, engineering and planning issues in such a heavily congested urban corridor. This necessarily increases risk, and delays the demonstration of the technology. This is why the Anaheim-to-Ontario segment is now planned to be ''The Second First Forty Miles,'' not the first.
(Footnote 3 return)
If Congress chooses to expand its search for an ideal first demonstration project to one that would cost between $3$4 billion, then the advantages offered by the California-Nevada project become even more clear. For the same $3$4 billion cost of building a 40-mile urban commuter Maglev line in Pittsburgh or Baltimore-Washington, the California-Nevada Commission can build the first 163 miles between Las Vegas, Nevada, and Barstow, California. Extending this system to Ontario, California, will only require an additional 76 miles, and an additional 34 miles from Ontario will extend the system to Anaheim.
Barstow is, in fact, strategically situated to serve as the Maglev gateway to the entire southwestern region of the United States. The map shows that, at Barstow, three major highways converge from the ''Big Valley'' of California to the North (i.e., Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto and Stockton) (Highways 58/99); the urban sprawl of Los Angeles, Orange County and the ''Inland Empire'' to the West (I15); and the rapidly expanding low desert of Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, to the Southwest (Highway I40). Eventually, from Barstow, Maglev can be extended not only West to Victorville, Ontario and Anaheim, California, but also down the I15 (from Ontario) to San Diego in the far South, and up Highway 99 to Sacramento and San Francisco in the far North.
(Footnote 4 return)
The members include (1) Bombardier, the No. 1 producer of automated transportation systems in the world, (2) Michael Baker Jr., a national transportation engineering firm, (3) Duquesne Light company, a southwestern electrical power distributor, (4) United States Steel, the No. I steel producer in the United States, (5) Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel, a large steel producer in the United States, (6) Carnegie Mellon University, (7) the Building and Construction Trades Council of Pittsburgh, and (8) the United Steelworkers of America, one of America's largest labor unions.