The city has another option, conversion from steel wheels to urban magnetic levitation (maglev). The HART Chair has mentioned a peer review by transit experts; those experts must include a maglev engineering team. Maglev that uses American technology can meet (and even exceed) the terms of the 2012 Full Funding Grant Agreement with the available funding options and within the timelines. With the billions already spent, why not spend a few thousand to determine whether or not maglev can be implemented here? Critics state that no U.S. city has maglev. That fact primarily points to the sad state of the nation’s rail infrastructure compared to, for example, Asia where urban maglevs operate in Japan, China, and Korea.
The move toward maglev overseas has much to do with operations and maintenance costs. We can save billions in O&M with maglev over 30 years vis-à-vis steel wheels. If the city administration, the mayoral candidates, and HART ignore maglev, it will be up to the City Council to do something constructive for a change after abrogating its responsibility to select the rail technology eight years ago. This is no time for taxpayer complacency as steel wheels costs continue to escalate. Why not implement 21st Century maglev and regain public confidence in the rail project.