People gather to ask questions about the proposed MAGLEV high speed train project that may travel through Anne Arundel County at a public meeting at Arundel High School in Gambrills.
Hundreds of Anne Arundel County residents huddled around maps on cafeteria tables at Arundel High School on Monday night in an effort to find out if their homes are in the potential path of the Maglev.
The proposed superconducting Maglev high-speed rail project, which would cost between $10 billion to $12 billion, promises to cut the trip between BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and Baltimore down to five minutes, and get from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., in 15 minutes. The train would eventually connect Washington to New York in an hour.
On Saturday, Maglev officials announced that the possible train routes had been reduced from six to three, eliminating use of the WB&A Trail corridors and sections in Bowie. Department of Transportation officials reiterated this news at Monday's meeting, and said the only thing that has been funded so far is the $27 million environmental study that will evaluate potential effects in the area extending from the I-95 corridor east to central Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties— a distance of about 10 miles.
"We're hearing you loud and clear. There's a lot of passion, but I think all of us in the DMV just want to improve transportation," Brandon Bratcher, environmental specialist with the Federal Railroad Administration said in a presentation. "We've been in a lot of meetings with the private company, pushing back on a lot of the technical specifications. We're sort of fighting the Oz behind the curtain a little bit...fighting the good fight."
Current routes being considered, along with a "no build alternative" are Alternative E1 – Amtrak Modified, Alternative J – Baltimore-Washington Parkway Modified East and Alternative J1 – Baltimore-Washington Parkway Modified West. Specific route areas can be seen on the interactive map at bwmaglev.info/index.php/web-application.
"Odenton gets no benefits from this," she said. "It serves nothing but destroying our neighborhood. Our homes are our biggest investment here."
The Maryland Department of Transportation will hold three more Maglev meetings this month: Oct. 18 at Catholic University in D.C., Oct. 24 at Laurel High School and Oct. 25 at Digital Harbor High School in Baltimore.