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Let’s Give Americans a Chance to Own America

Posted by Content Coordinator on Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

This commentary was written by Richard Little, a Senior Fellow in the School of Policy Planning and Development and Director of the Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy at the University of Southern California

Rather than adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt to pay for our long-overdue infrastructure revival, perhaps the President and Congress should consider an alternative path. As this is written, public and institutional pension funds, battered by continuing double-digit stock market declines that have steepened in 2009, are looking to invest in anything that can generate stable, long-term returns on equity. At the same time, interest remains strong in finding a politically-acceptable means of addressing projected shortfalls in social security revenues. In “Not the Macquarie Model: Using U.S. Sovereign Wealth to Renew America’s Civil Infrastructure,” a paper prepared for America2050, I suggest that there is an “alternative path” with the capacity to supply significant additional capital for infrastructure investment while at the same time addressing the need of public pension funds and the Social Security Administration to obtain higher returns with minimal risk…

Let’s Give Americans a Chance to Own America

About America 2050
“America 2050 is a national initiative [in collaboration with Regional Plan Association] to meet the infrastructure, economic development and environmental challenges of the nation as we prepare to add about 130 million additional Americans by the year 2050.  America 2050 is guided by the National Committee for America 2050, a coalition of regional planners, scholars, and policy-makers to develop a framework for the nation’s future growth.”

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One Response to “Let’s Give Americans a Chance to Own America”

  1. Ernest M. Fazio says:

    There is no reason we cannot have the most modern, most efficient, most profitable transportation in the world. Here is the text of an Op-Ed piece that I wrote and was published in Newsday on December 4th 2009.

    Maglev-A Vision of Future Transportation Newsday Dec 4th 2009

    Two hundred seventy miles per hour was the reading on the digital speed indicator as we swiftly moved from Shanghais to the airport. We were riding the Maglev in China.
    The Maglev is a transportation system that travels on a dedicated guideway and is supported by a magnetic field and moves without mechanical friction. The result is a very quiet, efficient, and fast mode of transportation.

    The Chinese Maglev was the product of an effort that was made on Long Island by Drs. Gordon Danby and James Powell while they were working at Brookhaven National Laboratories. The Germans built this Maglev train, employing the inventors as consultants.

    There is a version of the technology that has been built in Japan as well, also inspired by the inventions of Danby and Powell. It is remarkably successful. The Japanese version has carried many thousands of passengers and has recorded its highest speed of 361 MPH. Japan is now building a 300 mile link connecting Tokyo and Osaka. They plan on being able to move 100,000 passengers per day at 300 MPH.

    Senator Patrick Moynihan passed a bill in the Senate in the early 90’s that provided $750 million for the testing and building of the first Maglev in America. But corresponding legislation was killed in the House of Representatives because of the pressure created by various interests including, airlines, truckers and auto manufacturers.

    Creating a working American Maglev is a matter of national pride. It is also a matter of not letting an economic opportunity slip through our fingers. If we do not manufacture enough of the world’s important technology, we will be beholding to those countries that do. In the process we lose the high skilled, high paid jobs that the American worker has proved that he or she can do. We can’t afford to lose that segment of our society. We need to create those jobs again.

    America has an extensive rail network. That network and right-of-ways are an incredible resource. We can move freight on that network using Maglev, and we can do it inexpensively. In fact we can move entire tractor-trailers in aerodynamic envelopes across the country at 300 MPH and save $3,000 worth of fuel and tolls. The trip will take less than a day and deliver a refreshed driver on the other end. The trip will be half the cost to the trucker , and profitable to the Maglev owners.

    This is a more advanced Maglev system than the first generation system now operating in Japan and China. The cost of making this new system is a fraction of the cost of those versions. The Chinese Maglev floats on a magnetic cushion that has very critical clearances (about ½ inch). The process of building that system is costly and time consuming.

    Danby and Powell have never stopped improving their Maglev design. Their second generation superconducting Maglev system allows the vehicle to float 4 ½” to 6” above a guideway. That system can be built in a factory and shipped by truck to a construction site, and be quickly erected using ordinary cranes. The higher clearances allow the vehicle to operate in ice storms, and snowstorms. Another innovation that Danby and Powell have solved is the compatibility with existing rail tracks. The modification is low in cost and allows conventional trains to operate alternately.

    This project will take as long as Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System. There will be jobs created on a long-term basis. We project Maglev manufacturing, and guideway fabrication will extend thirty years out, and all of that investment can be privately funded because it will be profitable. Presently the inventors and the Town of Riverhead have government grant in process to prove the new technology an a three mile track at Calverton

    Ernest M. Fazio, Director of Communications- Maglev 2000 and Chairman of Long Island Metro Business Action (formerly Long Island MidSuffolk Business Action)

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