Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pittsburgh MAGLEV completes EIS


Exciting news this week at least for Pittsburgh, their proposed route has been completed for it's environmental impact statement and is available for public review...(see the story below).


Pittsburgh Maglev project moves to public review
By Matthew Santoni

Thursday, June 10, 2010
Plans for a magnetically-levitating train from Pittsburgh to Greensburg are being opened to public review, marking another tiny step forward for the decade-long project.

The final environmental impact statement for the proposed $5.3 billion, 54-mile Pittsburgh Maglev project was posted for public review and comment Thursday at the Port Authority of Allegheny County's office and at portauthority.org. The authority is managing state and federal funding for McKeesport-based Maglev Inc., but has no role in planning or building the train.
Maglev Inc. President Fred Gurney said he was waiting for federal officials' go-ahead before taking the environmental study to the public, and the project's backers pushed Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to move it forward when he visited the factory floor last month.

"We've been looking for this for a long, long time," Gurney said.
The study describes the general plans for the train, which would use powerful magnets to hover above an elevated track connecting Pittsburgh International Airport, Downtown, Monroeville and Greensburg. It also describes how the proposed route would impact 198 residential properties and 43 commercial properties; and how the train could attract more than 40,000 riders per day if completed by 2014.

After the public review period is over July 16, Maglev Inc. will need to update its financial plans and projections. The Department of Transportation will then have to issue a decision that will determine if the project moves into financing and construction.

Only $52.5 million in earmarks and federal funding has been set aside for the project so far, but about half of it won't be released to Maglev Inc. for spending until the state throws in about $5 million in matching funds.
Matthew Santoni can be reached at msantoni@tribweb.com or 412-380-5625.

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