BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Some say it will revitalize the city. Others say it will destroy neighborhoods. Now, the Light Rail’s Red Line is one step closer to being a reality.
Weijia Jiang explains the MTA just got the key federal approval it needs.
It’s highly controversial. It’s one of the biggest projects ever proposed in Baltimore. The Red Line gets a green light to move forward.
It’s welcome news for Jocelyn Jones, who takes the bus to work.
“The commute would be faster and shorter,” she said.
“Faster service than waiting for the bus to come, than riding on the bus too,” said bus rider Delores Gray.
The cost of the $2.2 billion project will be split 50/50 between the state and the federal government, which approved the 14.5 mile-long line on Tuesday. It would run east and west through the city, starting at Woodlawn and ending at Johns Hopkins Bayview.
“They’re not only an inexpensive, low environmental impact way to move around. They bring a lot of opportunity, economic development, access to jobs, you can get to work,” said Henry Kay, from the Maryland Transit Administration.
But many tax payers who live in the red line’s path, especially in Canton, say it will also bring them major inconveniences because part of the route will run above ground, including sections of Boston Street.
“Imagine what the traffic will be when, in addition to what we already have, there’s a double track railroad going right down the middle of the street. It’s going to be a nightmare,” said Canton resident Benjamin Rosenberg.
The proposal has drawn sharp criticism over traffic since it was introduced two years ago.
Residents are also concerned about how expensive the rail is to build.
“If they go forward with this thing, it’ll be on the backs of Maryland taxpayers,” said Rosenberg.
The MTA is hoping the first train will run in 2020. The Red Line would carry an estimated 42,000 passengers a day.