If you lived in Linthicum 40 years ago, you may recall a small community airport called Friendship and a West Nursery Road that ran past nothing but farms. There was no light rail and no exit from the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.
Today, Linthicum has an international airport that transports 22 million passengers a year. It is a major transportation hub connecting the parkway, the Baltimore Beltway, Interstate 195 and Route 100. In addition, there are three light rail stops, four light rail crossings and local roads connect more than 20,000 employees to their jobs on West Nursery Road.
Now there are plans for a magnetic levitation, or maglev, transit system that will harm the Linthicum community. While there are various routes indicated for the maglev, every one comes through Linthicum. There are many concerns -- yet, Gov. Larry Hogan does not support a meeting in Linthicum to hear from our concerns.
Information being disseminated by the Maryland Department of Transportation, or MDOT, indicates that that the maglev will run under Lithicum in a tunnel 100 feet deep and that residents should not worry.
But there is plenty that worries residents: the 1.5-acre ventilation towers, the 3-acre electric substations, how the high-tension wires will get to those substations, and the emergency escape hatches every few miles. Residents should indeed be concerned about one more major impact to their beautiful, historic community.
Of the several public meetings on the maglev, not one was planned for Linthicum, the community that will suffer the greatest negative impact. While there were meetings in Baltimore and in Washington, D.C., the agency could not schedule one in the most impacted area.
I assumed this was an oversight and appealed to the governor’s office, requesting a meeting in Linthicum. I even reserved Lindale Middle School to ensure we had space. More than 600 people signed a petition appealing for a meeting in Linthicum to discuss their concerns.
But after two weeks of waiting, I heard from the director of government affairs at MDOT that even after this community interest, there would be no meeting in Linthicum.
Gov. Hogan went to Japan to ride the maglev and loved it. He came home and engaged the federal government to fund an environmental impact study for $28 million. Yet the community that will be most impacted will not be granted a public meeting.
Linthicum residents who have attended meetings still have many unanswered questions.
Will residents feel vibration from the construction and the trains? Will property sustain damage? Will eminent domain be wielded to take residential property? Will homeowners see a decrease in property value?
Federal tax dollars are being used to fund a $28 million study. Why is it being performed before a study to determine if the maglev is economically viable? Where is the transparency?
Linthicum residents and their elected representatives are extremely disgruntled by the way information on the maglev is being presented — or not being presented — in Linthicum.
Del. Pamela Beidle, D-Linthicum, represents District 32 in the General Assembly, is the chairman of the Subcommittee for Motor Vehicle and Transportation Policy and is a candidate for state Senate in District 32. Contact her at Pamela.Beidle@House.State.md.us.