December 2, 2009 | Powder Springs, Georgia
SLC Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee Technical Tour
American Maglev Technology
Left to right: Colleen Cousineau, SLC; Representative Rod Scott, Alabama; Representative Nelson Cole, North Carolina; and Sujit CanagaRetna, SLC
Continuing its efforts to promote optimal public policy options for state legislators, the SLC’s Economic Development, Transportation and Cultural Affairs Committee recently arranged for Representative Nelson Cole, North Carolina, and Representative Rod Scott, Alabama, to tour the American Maglev Technology (AMT), Inc. facility in Powder Springs, Georgia. Tony J. Morris, Chief Executive Officer of AMT, briefed the two legislators on the intricacies of Maglev technology and its potential for moving both passengers and cargo efficiently in a number of settings. Among the positive outcomes of Maglev technology cited were lower energy (electric) cost per passenger kilometer compared to cars and aircraft (approximately 1.8 kilowatt hour per kilometer or 70 percent less energy than conventional transportation); zero carbon emissions except for the electricity; technology tried and tested by German and Japanese companies; reduced dependence on imported energy sources; high acceleration and deceleration capacity of the Maglev vehicle given the lack of surface contact or friction; and an elevated design that enables the Maglev system to deploy along existing rights-of-way with minimal disruption and displacement of current cityscape. The final portion of the SLC visit involved a test ride in AMT’s rail car at the facility.
After the visit to the Maglev test facility, Representatives Cole and Scott visited with Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Commissioner Vance Smith, Jr., at GDOT headquarters in Atlanta. Commissioner Smith, a former Georgia legislator, was most recently chair of the SLC’s Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee (2008-2009). The SLC legislators and Commissioner Smith discussed a host of transportation issues including the status of transportation funding in their states, the fiscal position of the federal Highway Trust Fund and the urgent need to devise alternate funding mechanisms to replenish this Fund, the reauthorization of the federal transportation legislation (SAFETEA-LU) in 2010 and transportation projects related to the federal stimulus legislation.
Both Representatives Cole and Scott serve on SLC’s Economic Development, Transportation and Cultural Affairs Committee. Representative Cole also is the chair of the North Carolina House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and vice chair of the North Carolina House Transportation Committee. Representative Scott serves on the Commerce and Rules Committees in the Alabama House.