The debut of the worlds first commercial magnetic levitation rail system in Shanghai, China, in January is raising hopes that the United States may finally get onboard. Urban roadways have never been more congested. A levitating train like Shanghai’s, boosters argue, might be just the ticket for short hops between cities or travel between them.

China’s new 450-passenger maglev train sprints 19 miles between Shanghai’s financial district and its international airport. Reaching 270 mph — albeit for mere seconds before it begins to brake — the train cuts travel time from 30 minutes to less than 8. Ticket price: $6.

If anything, the $1.2 billion project shows that after 30 years, it’s no longer about the technology: Where there’s money, there can be maglev.
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