Thursday, July 23, 2009

Private Hydrogen-Powered Train Proposed to Link Grand Rapids and Detroit

From the Grand Rapids Press:

The public gets a chance next week to comment on a plan to build a futuristic high-speed rail system along Michigan's interstates, allowing people and cars to travel from Grand Rapids to Detroit in less than an hour.

The Michigan-meets-"The Jetsons" concept is being studied by a bipartisan state panel holding meetings around the state in an attempt to gauge public support. . . .

The project was proposed by the privately owned Interstate Traveler Company, located just north of Ann Arbor. Company officials are asking the state to provide free use of the right-of-way along Michigan's interstate freeway system.

The railway's cars would levitate on top of an elevated hydrogen-based track and be propelled by energy from magnets. Cars holding people, freight and vehicles would cycle at high speeds, stopping in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor and Detroit. . . .

It is, however, an expensive proposition.

The project is estimated to cost more than $2 billion, or about $17 million a mile.

. . . the company is not asking for any state, federal or local funding.

Company founder Justin Sutton has told state officials he has secured private investors for the project, but needs lawmakers to agree to give him free use of the interstate right-of-way in exchange for revenues that will be shared with the state and local governments after three years of operation.

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