Investors have proposed a new magnetically-driven rail system to run hydrogen-powered vehicles between Detroit and Lansing. The estimated total cost for the project is US$2.3 billion.

A new proposal to help alleviate the problem of heavy traffic in the state of Michigan is under way. A company called Worldwide Hydrogen Super Highways says it has designed a magnetic-levitation (maglev) rail line to run near existing highways between Detroit, Lansing and Ann Arbor. Interstate Traveler Co. LLC, the company that is pitching this project is made up of 200 international investors.

Trains would not run on the line but only special maglev cars built by Detroit's automakers. These cars would be powered by hydrogen batteries and recharge using solar energy. The proposed speeds for the maglev train is up to 200mph (322km/h) although the Shanghai maglev easily reaches 268 mph (431 km/h) but hardly its full potential. The highest recorded speed of a maglev train is 361mph (581 km/h) which occured in Japan 2003 while the theoretical potential exceeds 4000 mph (6437 km/h) if deployed in an evacuated tunnel.

The estimated cost of the project is around 15 million USD per mile which would make the total cost about 2.3 billion USD. Fortunately the taxpayer will not be asked to fund this project as all funds for construction will be borne by the investors. Additional revenue would be generated from leasing the rail lines to utility companies and advertising revenues placed all over the vicinity of the rails including at stations along its route. Of course ride fares would be charged to commuters as well.

A Michigan State House is currently reviewing the proposal to see if it meets financial and technological feasibility goals. Should it approve the plan, construction could commence by next year.


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