Mag-Lev Project Meets Approval in Japan

Japanese officials recently approved plans to build a 320-mile magnetic levitation train system. The $114 billion project is expected to begin construction in 2014.

Speeds are expected to exceed 300 mph, and will cut the trip between Osaka and Tokyo to one hour.

"Of course, all of these selling points come with a hefty price tag that's hard to swallow for most countries. Japan's project is currently estimated to cost $114 billion with construction to start in 2014 and last until 2045. Such an incredible budget and long timeline is mostly due to the decision to make the route as straight as possible, sending it under mountains and requiring massive tunnels. In fact, 60 percent of the line will exist underground at an average depth of 130 feet.

While Japan has committed to maglev as the future of its rail system, similar projects throughout the United States are still struggling to get off the ground. Only one high-speed corridor exists in the United States, bridging the 456 miles between Boston and Washington, D.C.. With an average cruising speed of just 70 mph, travel time clocks in right around seven hours.

Efforts by the U.S. government to fund the development of new and faster infrastructure have either been demonized by opponents as wasteful spending or been criticized for not going far enough. "

Full Story: Big in Japan: High-Speed Magnetic Levitation Trains

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