Schiller Institute testifies on the need for a Danish maglev net before the Traffic Committe of the Danish parliament 

 

On April 12, 2007, a delegation of five members from the Danish Schiller Institute testified in front of the Traffic Committee of the Danish parliament, on the need for the establishment of a Danish maglev net. 

 

The members of the delegation were (from left to right): Feride Istogu Gillesberg, Jon KjŠr Nielsen, Tom Gillesberg, Michelle Rasmussen og Christina Bruun Jensen

Speech by Tom Gillesberg, Chairman of the Schiller Institute in Denmark to the Danish Parliament's Traffic Committee
Thursday, April 12, 2007

[The speech was illustrated by a power point presentation you can see here]


Greetings. I am Tom Gillesberg, Chairman of the Schiller Institute in Denmark.

Firstly, I would like to thank the Traffic Committee for receiving our delegation with so short notice. (fn1)

In the summer of 2006, the Schiller Institute published a 50,000-run campaign newspaper (fn2), where we proposed building a magnetic levitation (maglev) line between Copenhagen and ┼rhus, across the Kattegat Sea, which would reduce the travel time between Denmark's two largest cities to 25 minutes. That ought to be the first part of a Danish high-speed train network. This proposal garnered a lot of press coverage a couple of weeks ago. (fn3)

(In emphasis:) Such a maglev network ought to be in the Infrastructure Commission and the parliament's plans for future Danish infrastructure, therefore, we are here today to encourage the Traffic Committee to order an official study about this proposal. (end emphasis)

A Danish maglev network will later be linked up to an international network, which, in time, will cover Europe from north to south, and reach all the way to Asia's east coast, as proposed by the American economist Lyndon LaRouche, called the Eurasian Land-bridge. Maglev trains are already now in daily use between Shanghai and Shanghai airport, with a top speed of 431 km./hour. (fn4)

A maglev line ┼rhus-Copenhagen, across the Kattegat Sea, should be built now because:

1) If the travel time between Denmark's two largest cities is reduced to 25-40 minutes, that will create a cohesive economic unit, and we will be able to harvest large economic benefits, due to the increase of the population density. As the ÷resund Bridge [between Copenhagen, Denmark and Malm÷, Sweden - ed.] has already shown, through the integration of Malm÷ and Skňne [the region Malm÷ is in], in the economic life of the capital city [Copenhagen]. The effect of connecting Copenhagen and ┼rhus, will be a lot bigger than that, in terms of the economy, as well as in relation to jobs, research, education, health and culture. The rise in traffic that occurred after the Great Belt Bridge [between the Danish island of Funen, and the Jutland mainland], will be surpassed many times by this new connection. Afterwards, the connection ought to be extended to Aalborg, and developed into a national high-speed network.

2) With a technological leap to maglev, trains will be faster, easier and cheaper than cars, and, therefore, train traffic will really become competitive. Because of the high speed, a maglev network will also have an almost unlimited capacity, which will reach far into the future. Maglev trains also have low energy usage, beneficial to the economy.

3) A European maglev network is faster and more economic for society than planes, and will bring us closer to the other European cities. The maglev is also well suited to freight traffic.

If the Danish economic activity and flexibility are to be upgraded by this new technology, it won't be (by financing the project) through user fees, but through the expansion of the national capital budget, in order to finance the construction of such a network, just as the state paid for the existing Danish infrastructure. The American economist Lyndon LaRouche has described this important aspect of the development of infrastructure, as the necessity of making a national capital budget, in an article to the U.S. Congress, with the title, "What the Congress Must Learn: The Lost Art of the Capital Budget." (fn5)

The effect of national investments in this type of basic infrastructure, will be multiplied many times over, during the next 50 years, due to the increased economic activity, mobility and productivity which will be created in the economy. In the case of user-fee-financing, the ticket price will be too high, and the beneficial economic effects for the society will be lost.

In the short-term, it seems like it would be crazy to use so much of the state's money on the project, but in the long-term (30-50 years), is crazy not to do it. And, the sooner we build it, the sooner we will get the positive results.

At the same time, the investments in basic economic infrastructure are the best answer to the current threatening economic downturn, and international economic crisis caused by the bursting housing and speculation bubbles -- both in Denmark, and internationally. 

Even though this is part of a future European infrastructure (and uses German-designed technology), we can not wait for a German initiative, as is also the case with the Fehmer Belt connection [from Denmark to Germany across the Baltic Sea]. The optimism for the future, which is the result of our positive experience with great infrastructure projects here in Denmark, means that we can lead, and then, later, get the Germans to come along. Both concerning building the Fehmer Belt connection and a maglev network.(fn6)

Asia is not waiting for Europe. China has already built a maglev line, and Russia, China and India have commenced close economic, technological and scientific cooperation. They are already designing new types of nuclear power plants, and similar advanced projects. Russia and China are now cooperating about sending space probes to Mars, and are even discussing a manned mission to the Moon.

If Denmark and Europe are to play a leading role in the future, we must make a technological leap now, which, through scientific and technological progress, will create increased welfare in the future.

Thank you.

Footnotes: (They refer to written material which the Schiller Institute sent to the members of the Traffic Committee before the hearing, which are now to be found on the official homepage of the Danish parliament: www.ft.dk. Search for the Schiller Institute, for all articles, or LaRouche, for Capital Budget and ERA.)

1. The Schiller Institute's initial statement requesting permission to testify before the Traffic Committee and the government's Infrastructure Commission.
2. "Denmark and the Eurasian Land-Bridge," by Poul E. Rasmussen, Schiller Institute campaign newspaper 1, July 2006.
3. Jyllands-Posten's internet newspaper and JP ┼rhus, Berlingske Tidende, Engineer's internet newspaper ing.dk, TV2/North's homepage, etc.
4. Shanghai Maglev Transrapid Technology", Siemens AG 2001, and 2 video clips [www.transrapid.de/de/medien/mpegs/ShAirportLine_EN.htm and www.transrapid.de/de/medien/mpegs/hochtech_16x9_en.htm]
5. "What Congress needs to learn: The Lost Art of the Capital Budget," by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
6. "Denmark's future role in the world: From Crusaders to Bridge Builders," by Tom Gillesberg, Schiller Institute campaign newspaper 2, December 2006.

COPENHAGEN, April 12 -- SUMMARY OF THE DISCUSSION AFTER THE SCHILLER INSTITUTE'S TESTIMONY BEFORE THE TRAFFIC COMMITTEE OF THE DANISH PARLIAMENT. 

Overall, there was a very open, serious, excited response to our challenge to the Danish Parliament lead
the way in taking a technological leap into the future. 

There were five questions, asked by three of the members present. All the questions and answers are paraphrases from our notes. There are no minutes made of the meetings.

One asked if maglevs can run on the same tracks as the other kinds of high-speed trains. No, Gillesberg answered. But the maglev is the way to make a technological leap, with a 50-year perspective. It will cause the same shift as that from horse and wagons, to trains, or the advent of cars. You have to think of the long-term perspective. The maglevs go faster than the other high-speed train systems. 

Another said that he thought that it was really refreshing that we presented such a big, new perspective. He said that he had so many questions, that it would be hard to express them in such a short time, and that maybe he could get us to answer them at a later time. Does the Schiller Institute have similar proposals for many other countries? Is this an international plan? Here in Denmark, when the maglev has been brought up, people say that the country is too small. I can see your maps, with stations in the major cities, but what about the cities inbetween?

Gillesberg answered that, yes, the SI has maglev plans for other countries. The proposal came from Lyndon LaRouche, who, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, conceived of a plan to build the newest infrastructure in all of Eurasia. It was conceived with a 50-year future perspective. We then had ideas of hooking Denmark up to the maglev lines that would be built in the rest of Europe. But, there was a political problem in the form of cultural pessimism in Germany, which meant that it didn't get anywhere. A maglev route from Berlin to Hamburg had actually been approved, but the Green Party got it canned.

Why? asked the parliamentarian. 

Gillesberg said that he has never gotten a proper answer to that, other than they said it would go too fast! The TGV [high-speed rail a la France] is not a technological leap. It will not really compete with cars. If you want to do that, you have to have a system which is faster, cheaper and better.

Another member, from area south of Copenhagen, asked why we are proposing to build the Copenhagen-Aarhus first. Why not Copenhagen-Berlin, through the Danish harbor city of Roedby? This would be the way to connect up with Europe. 

Gillesberg said that the problem was on the German side. We now have Shanghai to Shanghai airport (Pudong). If we build Copenhagen-Aarhus, then, all we have to do is connect the two, to get the whole thing built! [lots of laughter] The problem is that people lack great visions for the future. We have to take the lead for the big world out there. Denmark, because of its experience with the two recent great bridge projects, should now lead the way, and then the Germans would follow.

This member asked another question, about whether we had made traffic prognosis along the different potential routes,

Gillesberg explained that the benefit of starting with the Copenhagen-Aarhus route was that it would connect Denmark's two largest cities. It would have the same effect as when Copenhagen and Malmoe were connected. It created a single economic unit. If you build new projects you will generate more traffic -- not just take care of the traffic that currently exists. We can start with this route, and then extend it. 

The first member then asked why not TGV? In France, it just went 600 km/hour. He heard they had just driven over 600 km/h. 

Gillesberg answered that he had heard that the TGV had only reached a top speed of 574 km/h, but that that was under super special conditions, just for the record attempt. For the the daily operating speed, the TGV tries to reach 320 km/h, and there are hopes of, at some point, raising it to 350 km/h. In Shanghai, the maglev already runs safely with a daily operating speed of at 431 km/h, which could be increased to 500 km/h. If you are not convinced, we could all take a study tour to Shanghai! The problem is that people think short-sightedly. If we straighten out a little here, and a little there... But that approach won't really challenge car traffic. 

Gillesberg ended with stating, that with this kind of big, expensive project, we can't think in terms of 10-20 years, but it would only make sense with a 30-50 year perspective.  But if there were ever a time for Denmark to do something like this, it is now. How should Denmark spend its (relatively quite large) national budget surplus? You don't won't to simply spend the economic surplus on daily operating expenses, but want to invest part of it for future times. How do you do that? You invest in large scale infrastructure projects, that will increase the wealth and productivity of the economy over the long-term. That's the best pension investment a nation can have. 

The chairman then announced that our 15 minutes were up, and that he would forward the responses the committee had requested from the Economy Ministry and Traffic Ministry about our proposal.

As all of the members stood up, as a way of saying farewell, Tom reiterated our plea that the committee order a study of this project, and that he would work on answering the committee members' questions more at length, as well as any other questions they may have, and ended by, again, challenging them to lead the way, and think in the proper long-term perspective.


The scedule of the traffic committee meeting can be seen at: http://www.folketinget.dk/?/samling/20061/udvda/tru_moede19.htm

The official papers given to the committee members can be found at the following three links:

http://www.folketinget.dk/Samling/20061/almdel/TRU/bilag/322/index.htm

http://www.folketinget.dk/Samling/20061/almdel/TRU/bilag/360/index.htm

http://www.folketinget.dk/Samling/20061/almdel/TRU/bilag/361/index.htm

Follow the continuing story on our maglev site.