Is maglev in Pittsburgh’s future?
After 5 years of analysis, the Pennsylvania High-Speed Maglev Project and PennDOT have applied for over $2 billion in stimulus funds to offset part of the $5.25 billion cost. The route seeks to link Pittsburgh International Airport, downtown, Monroeville and Greensburg in a 19 mile route. Stations are to be placed at PIA, Steel City Plaza, Thompson Run, Greengate Mall, and the intersection of Rts 66 and 136.
While the cost is not that surprising, considering the lack of infrastructure for such a project in the area, but that the amount being sought is roughly more than 1/4 of the package designated for similar projects for the whole country. Critics have pointed out that maglev systems require a totally new transport system and cannot use the current railways and suggest that improving current infrastructure would be more cost effective.
The route to the airport is long overdue and could be a boon to a floundering downtown looking to bring in conferences and big business. But to Monroeville? Do Pittsburghers really need to get out to Miracle Mile that much faster? Granted, a train route could ease some congestion in the area and encourage development in nearby Westmoreland county, but I question it’s value if there still isn’t a T-line out to Oakland for pete’s sake.