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Japan pledges $2 million for Maryland bullet train feasibility

Japan plans to give Maryland $2 million for maglev train studies.

The government of Japan has pledged $2 million to help fund studies on the feasibility of a magnetic levitation train that could shuttle passengers from Baltimore to Washington within 15 minutes, state officials said.

On Wednesday, Gov. Larry Hogan signed a trade agreement with Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae, making Maryland the third state to sign such an agreement with Japan, the governor's office said.

In June 2015, Hogan visited Japan and was enthralled with a maglev train, sometimes called a bullet train, that rushes past at more than 350 mph. He promised to explore a project connecting Washington and Baltimore, a $10 billion enterprise.

Japan's $2 million pledge builds upon nearly $28 million in federal grants secured for environmental and engineering studies. Magnetic technology allows the trains to glide at ultra-fast speeds on a cushion of air.

Wednesday's trade agreement also covered liquified natural gas, life sciences, trade and investment, and academics, according to a news release from the governor's office.

Last year, Hogan and Sasae met at Dominion Cove Point LNG in Calvert County to affirm plans by Japan companies to import liquified natural gas, bringing jobs and tax revenue to Maryland, the governor's office said.

tprudente@baltsun.com

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