Kobe Airport, the third passenger airport in the Kansai region, opened just a couple of hours ago. So what’s next? How about a tunnel from Kobe to Kansai?
The “Cross-Osaka Bay Railroad” is envisioned to connect JR Shin-Kobe Station and Kansai Airport via Kobe Airport in 30 minutes, using linear motor cars over the total distance of 36 km. The Kobe Airport-Kansai Airport run will take only 17 min. The cost of the tunnel is expected to be 530 billion yen.
Apparently, this was one of those crazy bubble-era ideas that fell apart after the Kobe earthquake of 1995 and the stagnant traffic numbers at Kansai in the late 90’s. But now, authorities are saying that if traffic at Kansai picks up, the airport may have to go international-only, and this project might be needed to keep a steady flow of passengers between domestic and international flights. Hyogo Prefecture seems to be warming to the idea, but Kobe City and Kansai Airport (perhaps fortunately) think it’s pretty ridiculous.