Rally set in opposition of proposed maglev project

Susan McCutchen might not have a home in a few years if a proposed high-speed maglev train becomes a reality.

One of two proposed routes would cut through several Maryland regions in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties, McCutchen said, including her property in Bladensburg.

“This is going to seriously affect a lot of people along the route from D.C. to Greenbelt to Baltimore.” McCutchen, 64, said.

McCutchen has organized an opposition maglev rally at Veterans Memorial Park beginning at 9 a.m. on Oct. 6. The purpose of the rally is to “draw attention” to the proposed project and to inform the public, said McCutchen, who also is a member of Citizens Against This SCMaglev.

Traveling at speeds of 300 miles per hour, the maglev does not run on traditional train tracks, but instead levitating on magnetic forces, according to information provided by the Baltimore-Washington SCMAGLEV project team.

The two proposed routes are either east or west of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. The east route would travel through the campuses of NSA and NASA and parts of Fort Meade. The west route is designed to travel through parts of Laurel, Greenbelt and Beltsville.

McCutchen said that either path would still “directly affect” her neighborhood and surrounding streets.

Travel time on the maglev will take only 15 minutes from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore. There would be only three stops, one in each of the cities and at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport according to Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail, overseers of the project for the Maryland Transit Administration.

Build-out costs are estimated to be between $10 billion and $15 billion.

In August, Maryland State Sen. Douglas Peters, District 23, and Del. Geraldine Valentino-Smith, District 23 A, wrote in opposition to the maglev train to the Prince George’s Department of Public Works and Transportation and the Prince George’s County Planning Board.

In the letter, the elected officials urged the two departments to write to the Federal Railroad Administration with the county’s “strong opposition to this construction project.”

“I think the desire is that the county will respond in opposition to the project,” Valentino-Smith said.

A representative from the planning board was not immediately available for comment.

Paulette Jones, a spokeswoman for public works, said “as a department, we do not have positions on things like maglev … we don’t take positions on issues of this magnitude.”

In February, Laurel City Council passed a resolution opposing the train.

Beyond proposals and funding, no maglev trains have so far been built in the country.

Valentino-Smith said there remains uncertainty if “it will ever come to fruition in the East Coast.”

“We believe the last leg of this train to New York City may never be built or extended beyond 30-plus years, thereby leaving our county with a monumental heap of concrete and tunnels damaging our infrastructure,” the elected officials wrote.

McCutchen is also concerned about its completion.

“I want to save my neighborhood,” McCutchen said. “[Maglev] will destroy the community and people will not be able to recover from it.”

jnocera@baltsun.com

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