To some degree, the comparison is apples and oranges. For the time being anyway, pursuing maglev requires no contribution of state funds. The Japanese government, eager to spur exports of its rail technology, has offered to finance half the cost of the Baltimore-Washington maglev. The Japan Central Railway, the U.S. federal government and private investors are expected to pick up the remaining tab. By contrast, the state is expected to contribute billions if it builds both the Red and Purple lines, and local governments are expected to add hundreds of millions more. What Mr. Hogan is being asked to do in regard to maglev is, basically, not to stand in the way. What he's being asked to do with regard to the Red and Purple lines is to devote a substantial portion of the state's transportation budget to two projects. Of course there's another difference as well: The state has already invested substantially in the Red and Purple lines ($450 million in planning and design), and abandoning them now would be a huge waste.