Add this to the list of theoretical high-speed transit options this country desperately needs—a magnetic levitating train (!) that will shoot passengers between New York and Washington D.C. in roughly an hour! Never be late to your reservation with a senator or pricey courtesan at Old Ebbitt Grill ever again!
The maglev (that's a portmanteau) is already happening in Japan, because Japan is the uppity rich asshole always throwing lavish cheese and cocaine parties in the family's lesser Hamptons mansion. America might get one someday, but only if we win the lottery or some distant wealthy aunt fortuitously kicks the bucket and leaves us a fat inheritance. (Who would that aunt be in this case? Norway?)
We are a long way off, but the dream isn't totally intangible. Northeast Maglev, the company behind the project, will "begin seeking federal regulatory approval next year," which is a euphemism for "not in your lifetime." Still, the company did apply for a railway franchise in Maryland to connect D.C. and Baltimore, a crucial first step.
The Japanese government last week approved funding to upgrade existing railways between Tokyo and Nagoya with maglev technology, which employs magnets to lift the train several inches from the guideway and send it hurtling through space at more than 300 mph. The company behind the project vowed to waive U.S. licensing fees to sweeten the deal, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged $5 billion in financing toward the D.C-Baltimore portion of the line, probably because he knows we will never be able to pony up the rest—an additional $5 billion, just for that stretch. A $1.75 billion bid was already rejected in 2010 on the basis that the project was "not ready," according to the Federal Railroad Administration.
Don't be too disappointed, though. Those smug bastards in Japan still won't be getting their magical flying train until 2027. In the meantime, we can still pin all our hopes on Amtrak.