Friday, September 11, 2009

FRA grants $28 million for Pittsburgh maglev effort

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The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded $28 million for continued planning of a proposed maglev operating linking downtown Pittsburgh with the city’s international airport. The proposal has survived for nearly 30 years, with previous federal grants totaling $22 million helping to keep it alive.

Backers of the project envision a maglev link between Pittsburghand Philadelphia at speeds topping 250 mph, and say maglev is ideally suited to overcome the hilly terrain along much of that route. Area backers also seek to establish Pittsburgh as a maglev manufacturing hub.

FRA’s $28 million grant will be awarded formally to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which will direct the funds to the project's longtime backer, McKeesport, Pa.-based Maglev Inc.

"We're excited about it," said Maglev President and CEO Fred Gurney. "Maglev can climb grades of 10% easily. It can negotiate the terrain of Western Pennsylvania easily."