Seven Maryland lawmakers have asked the state forego building a high-speed train route through their towns in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.
Citing concerns about disruptions to residential life along the current MARC and Amtrak train route from Baltimore to D.C., state Sens. Jim Rosapepe, and Joanne Benson and Dels. Barbara Frush, Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Ben Barnes, Erek Barron and Jazz Lewis all signed a letter sent to Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn on Tuesday asking the state to drop the route from consideration for a new Maglev train. All represents constituents in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties.
“As you know, we and many of our constituents strongly oppose the proposed MAGLEV routes which would disrupt our neighborhoods with little or no value to local residents,” the lawmakers wrote.
The Northeast Maglev is working with state and federal officials to determine which of three routes it could use to build a train traveling as fast as 311 mph from D.C. to Baltimore. The technology, already in use in Japan and China, uses magnetic levitation to shuttle passengers at historically fast speeds for trains from one city to the next.
The company, based in downtown Baltimore, is about one-third of the way through a federally required environment impact study process. Three routes have been under consideration, two of them moving along the B-W Parkway through Laurel and Fort Meade, and another, which the lawmakers referred to as the “Amtrak route,” would move along the existing Penn Line through Greenbelt, Severn and Bowie. The latter has drawn backlash from residents and leaders in those communities.
“We urge you to drop the Amtrak route promptly and identify and mitigate any community impacts of underground routes,” Rosapepe and the others wrote.
Two Maryland Department of Transportation spokespeople haven’t returned messages requesting comment.
The feds have awarded nearly $28 million for The Northeast Maglev and agencies to study the environment effects of constructing such infrastructure. The report from said study isn’t expected to be ready until 2019. Northeast Maglev CEO Wayne Rogers told DCist the project would be shovel-ready once the process is complete, with construction taking between five and seven years.
Awkwardly, another company has its own high-speed rail plans for Maryland. The Boring Company, a tunnel-digging venture from billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, has received a state utility permit to dig two 12-mile tunnels from Baltimore to the end of the state’s portion of the B-W Parkway. The company could begin digging as soon as next month. The effort would be entirely privately funded.
Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration has somewhat confusingly backed both plans – the Maglev’s in 2015 and The Boring Company’s this year.
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