Could Amtrak have some new competition in the chase for the lucrative Northeast Corridor high-speed rail market?
"The Northeast Maglev [TNEM], the 25-employee company founded in 2010, is looking to develop a high-speed magnetic levitation system that would bring passengers from Washington to Baltimore in 15 minutes and to New York in 60 minutes, at speeds of 311 miles an hour," reports Catherine Ho. With an advisory board stacked with well connected figures such as former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell and former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, and $50 million in private funding, TNEM is "seeking financial, community and political support," report Michael Dresser and Kevin Rector in The Baltimore Sun.
Though TNEM is a private company, it is working closely with engineers from Central Japan Railway, and appears to have support from the highest levels of the Japanese government. "Unlike past proposals, the TNEM group says it can count on financing from a Japanese government bank, reflecting Tokyo’s eagerness to launch the new superconducting maglev technology — developed by Japan Central Railroad — in the U.S. Northeast Corridor," write Dresser and Rector. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe personally presented an offer including "the use of the technology and 'substantial financial support' — with no amount specified — for a Washington-Baltimore line" to President Obama in a February meeting.