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.

Comments (19)
  1. PAUL E. MICELLI says:

    WHERE ARE THESE JOBS AT? WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT THERE WILL BE A RAIL LINE COME HELL OR HIGH WATER. SIMPLE WASTE OF TAXPAYERS MONIES THAT COULD BE SPENT ON OTHER WORTHWHILE PROJECTS. WILL ALSO BE INTERESTING TO MONITOR CRIME IN THE AREA. AHH, PROGRESS!!

    1. rob says:

      You do realize jobs come from building things. Like rail lines. OR DO DETAILS LIKE THAT GET LOST WHEN YOU WRITE IN ALL CAPS

  2. troy says:

    i hate living here in maryland its just wrong nothing for the kids to many killings “gangs ” everything things going up but nothing to do here but get harass buy there cops this place is awful to life not “live” no jobs or schools but money for a train how backwards ? cameras everywhere when something new goes on in the world it seems maryland always join the crown to destroy its people and leave them dry

      1. Steve says:

        Thousands upon thousands of people are leaving. Look at the census results. Hard working, honest people are flocking to Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, and being replaced by illegal aliens who bleed the system…. Maryland is in a downward spiral. There were more MTA riders 30 years ago then there are today, yet we keep on subsidizing transportation for these people. What a waste of money.

      2. John Davis says:

        Why? It is no better anywhere else. In fact some places are worse.

    1. John Davis says:

      Troy, I’m an ex Baltimoron who relocated to deep southwest VA…In the Appalachian mountains. I live in a small city here that has much the same problems here. But a lot less gun-play, that is why I came here. Got tired of hearing all the gunfire at night. As for the police, well this IS the South and I am poor. So i do my very best not to cross paths with them.

  3. Greg Primrose says:

    This would be a great resource for the night life downtown and in Canton, Fells Point, etc.

    Problem is the current system stops running at midnight on Saturday. Take a hint from SEPTA, on the weekend, have “last call” service.

  4. Mike says:

    Horrible idea and a waist of money.

  5. Andrew says:

    This is a complete waste of our money. Just another example of big government Maryland Democrats telling you and I that they know how to spend our money better than we do ourselves. Not to mention the fact that this will do little else than spread riff-raff and crime to otherwise nice areas of the city…ask any Baltimore County police officer who’s had the pleasure of working around Hunt Valley and they’ll tell you that the light rail there is little more than the “crime line”.

    I’m tired of the liberals in Annapolis thinking they know what I need…it’s time for Maryland citizens to rise up and determine their own course. If you want “progress” in Maryland how about replacing huge amounts of needless suburban sprawl with open space and trees and lowering taxes so that I can determine how best to “stimulate” the economy without the help of a know-it-all politician.

  6. Moutza Mavroscatasos says:

    You can kiss the Canton you love today GOODBYE. This will RUIN all the Boston Street establishments for sure.

  7. Rick says:

    Funny how “some” people don’t give a rat’s behind about what’s needed in poorer communities but the minute something’s perceived as bringing that same kind of destruction to their own communities where rents and the cost of housing is exorbitant to begin with to keep out the poor and the unwelcome these whiners are all over the net complaining and crying! You’ve got the money-buy an extra lock for your doors! All those undesirable types are on their way into your neighborhood. lol.

  8. Bill says:

    Gee!! We have to raise the tolls in Maryland for repairs of our current infrastructure?? We cannot open the pools in the city but we can cough up 1 Billion dollars for rail service? Federal money for a rail service but we must shut down social services for the needy at the time they really need it? Where is the states portion coming from? I thought we were broke??? O malley/O Bama? The O’s have it again! Political pay back?

  9. Clifford Summers says:

    What about a rail line in the northeast part of Baltimore. What a waste

  10. Jen says:

    We were just voted one of the country’s dirtiest cities and now we’re going to destroy a beautiful section of waterfront. The city is picking up at least 50% of the tab and traffic to and from 95 is going to be horrific in the Boston Street area. Home owners in the city are already battling decreasing home values and now Canton residents (who are paying a hell of a lot of taxes into this city) are supposed to be happy about watching their home values decrease even further??? This money could be MUCH more well spent on other city initiatives that would truly improve the lives of those who need help – without crushing a huge chunk of your tax base.

  11. whtnow says:

    They should get the north/south light rail working better first. I have been late 2 mornings in a row because of light rail. Half the time, there is NO A/C. Ride in a tuna can in 90 degree heat with no a/c. When they are running late there is no explanation and you have no idea what is going on. You ask one of their employees and most (not all) snap your head off. And I just love it when the rush hour train is a short train and everyone gets to lay all over each other pouring sweat. Fix this light rail before you build another.

  12. hoxsieq says:

    This is going to be an utter disaster! I am all for being green and what not but the existing LR is already a nightmare. Now ou want to add a second one?! If this is going to be the case, then something needs to be done about the streets the light rails run on, like closing them to auto ttraffice except at cross streets. In regards to the existing train, from Center Street south to Lombard should be closed to autos except where it crosses. The road should be pulled up and replaced with cobbels and grassy areas to reduce run off. A similar approach should be looked at for the new east/west line. Also, this train should run along Baltimore Street, not Pratt.

  13. mandy says:

    Do you all want to sit in rush hour in downtown all the time or take the train to downtown to work or visting the city. Just like the lightrails free parking just pay the ticket or pay $15.00 – $25.00 to park in the city take you pick. People like me that do not have a car need to take the train or bus to get anywhere. I do not like to sit in rush hour when I with someone that is driveing. If we carpull there will be less traffic on the road. The ones that work downtown take up more parking space & there is little space left for people that do not work downtown. With this red line train you will save on gas with your car & take down some more of the air pollution.

  14. Jerome Horne says:

    For all of you that are comparing this new Red Line to the existing Light Rail, you need to do your research. MTA realizes the problems that exist with the current light rail and are planning and working hard with communities to make this one much better. Go to the project website and learn something about it before you bash it.