Baltimore-D.C. maglev is big, yes, but possible

Patrick Walsh writes that maglev has lots of uncertainties (“Maglev comes with a train full of uncertainties,” Nov. 28). But every disruptive technology has uncertainties until it doesn't. Technology improved dramatically with the invention of the wheel. Without it, we'd all still be hunter-gatherers. We've come to the end of the road for wheels (pun intended). Humanity won't get any more order of magnitude improvements in speed of travel with wheels like we did when we went from carrying things on the heads of women to carrying things in horse drawn wagons, and then to carrying them in trucks and trains.

The next order of magnitude speed improvement came when we stopped the wheel on ground or track and started flying. To improve ground transmission, by a lot, we need to get past our addiction to the wheel and use a ground transportation system with literally no moving parts other than the train itself. That's maglev.

Yes, it's an expensive capital investment in an entirely new infrastructure. The railroads, the interstate highways and the airports were also expensive, but they've made a dramatic improvement in the quality of our lives. Maglev would be another dramatic improvement.

You have to think big in order to make a big difference.

Henry Farkas, Pikesville

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