Apropos of nothing, the previously scrapped maglev train line that would have linked the Pudong and Hongqiao airports together is suddenly being dusted off again. Construction on the proposed 31.8-km train line was shelved in 2007, after everybody realized that it was a terrible idea. Well, at least we thought everybody realized it was a terrible idea.
China Daily reports:
The magnetic levitation train project linking two airports in Shanghai is still under experts’ discussion and appraisal, Mayor Han Zheng told a press conference in Shanghai Saturday.
“Experts from the country have been evaluating the project since last year,” Han said.
He promised the government would solicit public opinions when the experts produced a conclusion.
Around this time last year, thousands of Shanghainese took to the streets to protest this very stretch of maglev. Besides the plans to displace thousands of families, local residents also took umbrage at possible concerns of electro-magnetic radiation and noise pollution — the maglev sounds like a bullet when it impacts the air above your head.
While those are all issues worthy of debate, the main question should be why the government is even considering something so impractical and expensive in the first place? The cost for building the Hongqiao-Pudong line would be roughly 500 million yuan per kilometer, which would put the final bill for that roughly 32 kilometer stretch at 1.6 billion yuan – assuming everything goes as smoothly as planned.
Our economy isn’t quite so flush anymore, Pudong’s in danger of sinking and everyday more of Shanghai’s heritage is destroyed to make way for either shoddily constructed super-malls or half-empty mega-towers. Considering Shanghai already has the bragging rights associated with having the first commercial maglev in the world, does it really need another one?