BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Proposed plans for high-speed trains that would one day transport people from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. in 15 minutes are cause for serious debate.
Officials say most of the route would run underground and would likely create nearly 74,000 jobs during it’s construction.
The idea sounds like something out of science fiction: a high-speed, magnetic levitation train transporting riders from point A to B in record time. The system, known as maglev for short, is real and has already been in the testing phase in Japan.
Gov. Larry Hogan took a ride alongside his secretary of transportation back in 2015.
Plans to bring maglev to Maryland haven’t come without controversy. Concerns over the estimated $10 billion price tag aside, questions over where the track would go has many opposing the project.
In Annapolis on Monday, groups for and against maglev gathered to rally.
“This train is all pain and no gain,” one protester said.
While a federal review has narrowed the possibility of routes linking Batlimore to Washington to just two, tracks would more or less run alongside the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.
Some still feel it will come too close to homes, among other worries.
“I voiced my concerns that I’m worried about the green space that’ll be lost,” said Laurel City Council President Mike Leszcz.
Laurel city leaders will eventually consider flat out opposing maglev at one their meetings, but that’s still not stopping some proponents from voicing their support when they can.
[Reporter: How big of a loss do you think this would be for, not just Laurel, but the state of Maryland?]
“It would be a big mistake because every part of this state should be part of the project, ” said Laurel resident Jerry Belsky.
In Annapolis, people pushing for maglev in Maryland are hoping to convince the opposition that this is no mere novelty, but a necessity.
“It’s important for our future. We look at the gridlock that we are in right now and we need some 21st-century solutions,” said Wayne Rogers, CEO of Northwest Maglev.
Ultimately, the vote to decide future talks was tabled for two weeks.
If ever green lighted, construction could begin as early as 2020, but if the results of an environmental study are less than favorable plans for the project could come to a halt in 2019.