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Baltimore needs more than a new rail station, it needs a tunnel | READER COMMENTARY

Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel near Falls Road and the North Avenue Bridge. File.
Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel near Falls Road and the North Avenue Bridge. File. (Jeffrey F. Bill / Baltimore Sun)

In response to your editorial, “Amtrak’s future still runs through Baltimore” (Nov. 10), I want to say thank you, but you forgot to mention the most important part. The Baltimore and Potomac (B&P) Tunnel will define the future of Amtrak, MARC and rail service along the Northeast Corridor. A renovated Pennsylvania Station is the cherry on top.

The B&P Tunnel opened in 1873, almost 150 years ago, and still carries the lion’s share of commuter and long-distance rail traffic between Baltimore and the District of Columbia. The tunnel is not only at capacity, it is falling apart. If we delay much longer on constructing a new modern tunnel, we will have a wonderful new Pennsylvania Station that will only be able to take us toward Pennsylvania.

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One hundred and fifty years ago, we traveled on macadam, wood and oyster shell roads and rode downtown on horse trolleys. Over time, we invested billions of dollars to reinvent our roads and our public transportation systems. The time has come to reinvent the B&P Tunnel. Construction of a new tunnel will create tens of thousands of construction jobs in Baltimore and allow more regular express trains between D.C. and Baltimore. A record of decision has already been made and the final environmental impact statement was released four years ago. It is time to start digging.

John Hillegass, Baltimore

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