Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Almost, almost, last Maglev post

As contrasts with what was the first post here that mentioned maglev.

So I give them credit for tenacity for sure, but the ghost has abandoned ship.  The results of the final auction of assets of Maglev Inc. which took place on March 6th have been filed.  By news accounts the total public funding into the local high speed maglev venture amounted to $23 million in federal and $7 million in state funding over the years though I suspect a full accounting has not really ever been completed. (Why not? Oh, nevermind that) There was at its inception there was even private money from Japanese investors.  I've wondered whether they got any of that back over the years?  A bit more surprising if you follow that link was that even back then in 1990 they were really planning to imminently float a larger financial package in the markets. Merely a question of which financial advisor to use.  Decisions, decisions.

It was all such a pretty picture.

I digress.  Did they make back 10 cents on the dollar?  In its final tally the auctioning off of Maglev's assets brought in a gross total of $549,202.16.  Before that money was paid to anyone some auction expenses of $40,059 were due.  A buyers premium collected by the auction house amounted to $82,380.  So if my math is right is works out to maybe a bit under $427 thousand payable to debtors and debtors in possession.  Probably will not cover the unpaid rent let alone legal fees to close this all out.

All that is left to write is the history.

Don't get me wrong.  I love trains and all, but why did anyone ever believe this would happen?  It was all such a cognitive dissonance with reality that even when Maryland appeared to drop out, leaving Pittsburgh to 'win' the competition for demonstration money for this, the result was to find new regions other than Pittsburgh to consider.  It just wasn't ever going to happen here.
If it ever happened it wasn't just an incremental technology for us, but akin to Merlin returning the visit to Connecticut.  I just looked it up and did the division:  Amtrak's service from Washington, DC to Pittsburgh covers all of 299 miles in just barely under 8 hours.  An average of under 38 miles per hour, and that is if it isn't late.  Faster than George made it which is something.  On a bad day the train might not be able to keep up with Lance Armstrong.