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Maglev would create congestion and environmental problems

Opponents of a proposed magnetic levitation train in Maryland say it would make their communities less safe and less desirable places to live, and worry about a range of impacts from noise to vibration to electromagnetic forces.

Neither of the alternatives for a new Maglev high-speed train presented in a lengthy technical report is alternative (“Maglev between Washington and Baltimore could mean a lot more than a fast trip. It could help save the planet,” Oct. 30 2018). The Maglev will bring about unnecessary destruction no matter which proposed route is chosen. It will not serve the needs of the affected residents and their communities, or other residents of Prince George's or Anne Arundel Counties, or improve their quality of life.

As spelled out in the technical report, the Maglev would be an alarming logistical and disruptive nightmare from start to finish for residents on either of the proposed routes and for other county residents. It would add to congestion and environmental damage with the construction of the many facets of its extensive built environment underground, at ground level and elevated overground. According to the report, agency input was taken into consideration and some changes were made to address potential problems in specific locations and with other aspects that have come into question. However, with every pivot and revision, other serious consequences arise and problems are shifted to another place or another concern is created. The responses to concerns overall are generic and the reassurances as ambiguous as they were at the several meetings I have attended.

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Opponents are concerned with social, racial, ethnic, class, and environmental justice for our communities along the proposed routes. Residents must have a real voice in the shaping of carefully-reasoned future development, including the Maglev. Better travel and transportation must be conceived of and advanced to truly serve the needs of our residents and their built environments, which can and should be preserved, as we move forward into the future. We are people and communities, not an experimental thoroughfare. Certainly there are better ways to remediate our local transportation woes than building an expensive train whose primary virtue is speed.

Susan R. McCutchen

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The writer is community liaison for the Bladensburg Citizens Against the SCMaglev.

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