Washington hosted the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) annual meeting just prior to President Obama’s inauguration. One month earlier, over 200 participants from 16 countries attended the 20th biannual International Maglev Systems Conference in San Diego. Only this year, there were no TRB maglev presentations, nor were there any Federal Railroad Administration or Federal Transit Administration representatives. So why was the most advanced transport technology conspicuously ignored? Answer: the Bush administration was anti-maglev and discouraged official review or acceptance of the technology.
Things have changed. President Obama provided some much needed leadership and pushed America forward when he personally insisted that maglev construction funding be included in the stimulus bill. He truly understands the urgent need for high-speed electric-powered intercity transportation systems that are energy and land-use efficient.