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Nate Payer, a spokesman for the Transit Riders Action Council of Metropolitan Baltimore, raised questions about the Maryland Transit Administration's plans to tunnel under certain neighborhoods along the proposed Red Line Route, suggesting that the construction could damage historic structures on the surface.

Here, at Getting There's request, is the MTA's response from Henry Kay, executive director for transit development and delivery:

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In response to a question from Getting There, MTA spokesman Terry Owens clarified that Kay's reference to a downtown tunnel in fact encompasses the entire 3-mile segment including parts under Fells Point and Canton.

TRAC's concerns are noted, but it is unclear that the group has the engineering expertise to make its case. It isn't enough to show the Red Line faces engineering problems -- all projects of its scope do. TRAC needs to show there are problems no amount of engineering can't solve. And engineers tend to be pretty good problem-solvers.

Of course, the MTA had better show that any solutions it devises to engineering challenges pass muster with qualified outside experts. Residents of the neighborhoods in its path deserve that assurance before the first scoop of dirt is shoveled.

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