State’s legislature, foolish as ever, contends that the plan is worth consideration.
Back in March, the State of Michigan announced that it would hold hearings on a proposal for a new mass transit system to run between Detroit and Lansing. The Interstate Traveler Company promises to build a 200 mph maglev train, running on hydrogen and solar power, along the right-of-way of several highways. The project would be financed completely through private means. Today, the first of those hearings will be held in the state legislature.
The Interstate Traveler Company has done little more than provide a series of graphics to support its claim that it knows how to create a true high-speed rail system. Its founder, Justin Sutton, has no experience with the rail industry, but he’s won a prize from the American Computer Science Association. That organization is currently promoting the idea that Bill and Hillary Clinton are supporting terrorism and which refers to the President as “Mr. O’Bamma.” Nonetheless, Tim Hoeffner, administrator of high-speed rail for the Michigan DOT, thinks Mr. Sutton’s project is worth examining.
Yet there is little evidence thus far presented that demonstrates how this project could be built at the advertised minimal cost of $15 million a mile or that several miles of track could be built each day, as the website claims. The project’s reliance on solar power for energy production is similarly difficult to believe in a place as overcast as Michigan. The vehicles’ design is questionable at best. The company’s proposals for a horse transporter and moving surgery center are strange.
Michigan has a good chance of receiving funds for a new — traditional — high-speed rail line between Detroit and Chicago; the federal government’s $13 billion commitment to fast trains could spark renewal in many of that state’s declining cities. But the Interstate Traveler Company is not the place to start. How soon will the state’s legislators figure that out?