Public meetings start on Baltimore-Washington maglev line

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LINTHICUM, MD — Can you imagine making the trip between Baltimore and Washington in 15 minutes? That’s what a proposed superconducting maglev (SCMAGLEV) project claims is possible and public meetings on the plan are now underway.

The first meeting was held at Lindale Middle School in Linthicum, Md. Four more meetings are scheduled in the coming week, including one on December 14 at 5 PM at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

The proposal is for a line between Washington and Baltimore, with a station in each city and one at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.

"The technology that we’re looking at is the Japanese technology, where the trains can go 311 miles an hour. So as far as trip times between Baltimore and D.C., we’re looking at about 15 minutes,” said Bradley Smith, the Director of Freight and Multimodalism at the Maryland Department of Transportation.

The project is a joint public-private partnership between the Maryland and federal governments and Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail (BWRR). Using a $27.8-million federal grant, which BWRR is matching with $6-million, the project undergoing an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) during which they are looking at where the stations would be placed and where the line would run. The scope of the project covers a 10-mile stretch between the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

"The folks here would be very interested to know whether or not it’s coming near them. How they would access it. How much it would cost,” said BWSMP Project Director David Henley. Previous reports have put the cost for such a project at over $10-billion, but Henley said it’s too early to tell. "We don’t know what the alignment is yet. We don’t know what the construction approach for the alignment might be.”

Organizers hope to have the proposed line and station options ready to publish by spring 2017, which will be followed by more studies and public meetings.

Henley added that best case scenario, a maglev train could be ready between 2025 and 2027.

"And that’s the first leg. Ultimately we want to go to New York."