Baltimore and Washington D.C. construction union members, workers and business leaders gathered downtown Monday afternoon to advocate for the proposed high-speed train from Baltimore to the nation’s capital.
More than 50 people listened and cheered as speakers at the rally urged leaders to approve the Northeast Maglev train, which they said would bring thousands of jobs, increase tourism and generate millions in revenue.
“You could have breakfast in Baltimore ... have dinner in New York and get home in time to catch up with the Ravens,” former state Sen. Larry Young said. “This is going to be major. More than 9,000 jobs and 1,500 could stay in this community.”
Using Japanese superconducting magnetic levitation technology, the company says the train could shorten the trip between Baltimore and Washington to 15 minutes before eventually being expanded to New York, creating an hourlong trip between the nation’s capital and its most populated city.
The Federal Railroad Administration is deciding whether allow the rail operator to move forward with the project. If such an approval comes by next spring, groundbreaking could start by late 2022.
Baltimore City recently asked the federal government not to approve the train, citing concerns about equity and the project’s effects on the environment.
In the meantime, while the train operator waits for the federal government’s decision, the company is sparring with a Sparks-based developer in court over 43 undeveloped acres on Kloman Street in South Baltimore.
Jermaine Jones, the Baltimore director for the Baltimore-DC Metro Building and Construction Trades Council, said the city “can’t afford” to lose another major project and that he hopes the city can pave the way with the new train technology.
“I don’t think about the people riding on the train back and forth,” Jones said. “I think of the people who live in Baltimore and need jobs. I think about the mother who lost her job during COVID, the father who just came home and that young man who just graduated and is looking for a job.”
Miriam Summers, vice president of the Greater Baltimore Chapter of National Action Network that helps communities disseminate information, said that maglev coming to Baltimore would allow for enhanced educational and job opportunities. She emphasized the importance of how that could change the life of many young people, particularly those who sell items on the streets.
“These kids want safety and protection. And they want to belong,” Summers said. “When you have money in your pocket, you can have all of those things.”