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REPORT POINTS TO POTENTIAL OF MAGLEV TRAINS FOR UNITED STATES

 WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The potential benefits of a magnetic levitation transportation system (maglev) are sufficient to justify a development program in the United States, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
 Maglev is a new surface mode of transportation in which vehicles glide above guideways, suspended, guided and propelled by magnetic forces.
 According to the report, maglev trains will be able to travel safely at speeds of 250 to 300 mph on intercity corridors between 100 and 600 miles in length. These rail guideways would be electrified, thereby considerably reducing air pollution. In addition, maglev has the potential to be competitive in total traveling time against other modes of travel. The system could significantly reduce airport congestion.
 Transportation Secretary Federico Pena hailed the report and said: "The report supports further exploration of the feasibility of establishing this dramatic new intercity transportation system in our country, and the project also offers a tremendous opportunity to convert advanced defense technologies to civilian and commercial uses. Legislation now before the Congress shows the president's strong commitment to high-speed rail. The administration also supports a maglev prototype development program."
 Federal Railroad Administrator Jolene M. Molitoris added: "Maglev is an exciting new technology that can relieve congestion in other transportation corridors and also reduce our dependence on petroleum."
 The report, prepared by a federal interagency group known as the National Maglev Initiative (NMI), recommends future government action regarding maglev.
 The NMI's recommendation is based on private sector and government information generated during the past three years concerning the viability of maglev as an intercity transportation alternative for the United States.
 The study examined 16 intercity corridors in detail, comparing existing rail, air and highways with the projected technical and financial performance of a potential maglev system. Comparisons were also made with the German maglev system and French high speed TGV system.
 The study advocates initiating a maglev development program within the general framework of the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), which authorizes such a program. This encompasses a three-phase competitive procurement bid for conceptual design, detail design and construction and testing.
 The report suggests certain modifications to ISTEA:
 -- An increase in the time for each of the three phases, to assure
 reasonable technical and cost risks;
 -- Testing to be conducted at a full-scale government test site,
 to allow extended test parameters that are not practical at a
 revenue service site; and
 -- Clarification of the option for U.S. companies to involve foreign
 partners in U.S. development efforts to take advantage of the
 experience of foreign countries in this field.
 Copies of the Final Report on the National Maglev Initiative, September 1993, request number PB94-100237, are available to the public through the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) by calling 703-487-4600 or writing to: National Technical Information Service, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, Va. 22161.
 -0- 11/2/93
 /CONTACT: John F. Fitzpatrick of the U.S. Department of Transportation, 202-366-0881/


CO: U.S. Department of Transportation ST: District of Columbia IN: TRN SU: EXE

IH-MH -- DC111 -- 9665 11/02/93 12:47 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 2, 1993
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