I very much respect The Baltimore Sun editorial board, but its commentary regarding Amtrak’s Acela and the proposed “multibillion-dollar” magnetic levitation train stresses wishful thinking and misunderstands rail patrons traveling between Washington and the large cities to our north (“Baltimore has a need for Amtrak - and maglev service, too,” May 7).
Overwhelmingly, those rail patrons are not businesspeople. Watch the boarding and exiting patrons at Penn Station — any day and every day — and you will see a very large majority of passengers traveling for fun, for family visits and for personal reasons having nothing to do with downtown businesses. These are mostly folks who live outside of the city, who might spend a few extra dollars for the Acela to save 50 minutes getting to New York, but they are very unlikely to part with a twice-the-price maglev ticket to save an additional 45 minutes en route. A survey of passengers, why they are traveling and where they live, would prove my view.
Only the improved Acela at Penn Station makes sense in terms of travel time, dollars and location. Rebuilding Baltimore’s economy via a maglev train at either of the inconveniently located proposed terminals fails the test of reality. There are far more effective ways to help restore Baltimore.
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