Feds, State Officials Want Your Input on the Maglev Train Proposal

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The public will have a chance to weigh in on exactly what construction of a high-speed Maglev train line between D.C. and Baltimore might entail at a series of meetings scattered throughout the area next week.

For those who are unfamiliar, Maglev is a type of rail transport that allows trains to travel at speeds upwards of 300 mph, which could shorten the commute from D.C. to Baltimore in 15 minutes. Gov. Hogan and others have been touting this region as a location for the first U.S. Maglev line for years; Kevin Plank even pitched it as a draw to investors this week in New York, per the BBJ.

Their effort has budged along, with the company Northeast Maglev setting up shop downtown here in Baltimore last year and the feds granting the state nearly $30 million to launch an environmental impact study. Japan, which has two of its own functioning Maglev trains, is also helping out with a starter grant of $2 million for feasibility studies for the project, though that connection would almost certainly lead to more funding if the project moves along.

With the feds and state transportation officials hard at work on examining how building such technology could affect our region, they want to hear from area residents. To do that, they’ve set up five open house meetings this week in Baltimore City, Anne Arundel Baltimore and Prince George’s counties and in D.C.:

  • Saturday, Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-12 p.m: Lindale Middle School, 415 Andover Road, Linthicum Heights, Md.
  • Monday, Dec. 12, 5-7 p.m.: Arundel Middle School, 1179 Hammond Lane, Odenton, Md.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 13, 5-7 p.m.: Du Burns Coppermine Fieldhouse, 3100 Boston Street, Baltimore, MD
  • Wednesday, Dec. 14, 5-7 p.m.: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G Street NW in Washington, D.C.
  • Thursday, Dec. 15, 5-7 p.m.: West Lanham Hills Fire Hall, 8501 Good Luck Road, Lanham, Md.

The open houses aren’t really presentations, according to officials, but are more of a chance for locals to comment on what they see as the potential environmental effects of building the rail. They’re also holding to meetings so the public can help officials figure out how to mitigate those effects, learn more about the technology, meet the people behind the project and ask questions. (There’s no need to attend more than one meeting, according to the project’s website, since they will all have the same information.)

These meetings are one of the first opportunities for locals to make themselves heard while officials explore whether they can actually make this happen. It could be worth your time. After all, if the project does proceed once the environmental impact and feasibility studies are completed, Baltimore and D.C. could be looking at a transformative new connection with stops here in Baltimore, at BWI Airport and down in the District.

Ethan McLeod
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