MAGLEV High Speed Train
A New High Speed Train for the DC/Baltimore Corridor?
The Federal Railroad Administration and the Maryland Department of Transportation are evaluating the environmental impacts of constructing and operating a high-speed superconducting magnetic levitation (SCMAGLEV) train system between Baltimore and Washington, DC.
Superconducting Maglev (SCMAGLEV) technology would mean the train could make the trip from
- DC to Baltimore in 15 minutes
- Travel speeds of up to 311 mph
Three proposed stations:
- Washington, DC
- BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport
- Baltimore City
Several routes are under consideration and some of them could possibly bring the project through Bowie. Zoom in on the map below to see each of the proposed routes.
The Federal Railroad Administration and the Maryland Department of Transportation are preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the potential impacts of constructing and operating a high-speed superconducting magnetic levitation (SCMAGLEV) system between Baltimore and Washington, DC.
These agencies will hold a series of open houses in October to solicit comments from the public on
- Preliminary alternatives screening analysis results
- Overview of alternatives recommended for detailed study
- Technology and engineering features
- Preliminary station information
The next Bowie area meeting is October 14, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Student Center at Bowie State University. A short presentation with a video will start approximately 30 minutes into the meeting. The video will play several times during the Open House hours. Additionally, the Project Team will be available to answer questions as you review maps and other project materials in an Open House format.
The MAGLEV website has more information about these open houses.
At the City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, a representative from the Maryland Transit Administration briefed the City Council and the public on the following aspects of the project:
- the genesis and purpose of the project;
- the distinctive roles of FRA, BWRR, MDOT-MTA, and other federal and state agencies that are involved in the environmental study;
- the process by which alternative alignments are proposed and evaluated;
- the decision-making process – who does decides what alternatives are eliminated and what alternatives are retained for further study, how that happens, and the various steps in the process;
- opportunities for public input and updates to the project website;
- how and when detailed maps of the alternative alignments will be shared with the public;
- what has happened in the NEPA process to date and what will occur in the future; and
- answers to NEPA process questions we receive from the public in advance of the meeting.
At the September 5 meeting, Mayor Robinson read a letter from the Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Peter Rahn, which said "It has always been the understanding of the Hogan administration this proposed project would only use existing rights-of-way intended for these types of purposes and have minimal impacts on those who live and work along the final route should the project come to fruition."
Read the full text of Transportation Secretary Rahn's letter to Mayor Robinson.
July 10, 2017 meeting
Approximately 300 Bowie area residents attended the City Council meeting on July 10, 2017 to learn more about the SCMAGLEV project from Project Director David Henley. After his presentation, 24 individuals and City Councilmembers offered comments on the proposal. State Senator Doug Peters, Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith, and County Council Member Todd Turner also made brief remarks.
David Henley represents Baltimore Washington Rapid Rail (BWRR), an American company that has partnered with a Japanese firm to bring the SCMAGLEV project to the northeast corridor of the US. He spoke about the technology and the need for the project, but was not authorized to discuss the various routes under consideration for the project or potential environmental impacts of the project. Those aspects of the SCMAGLEV are part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and are directed by the Federal Railroad Administration and the Maryland Department of Transportation, through the Maryland Transit Administration. An email from the Maryland Transit Administration to City Manager Alfred Lott explains those responsibilities.
MTA email to City Manager Lott (7/10/2017)
The alignment and alternatives study is being handled by the Maryland Transit Authority (MTA), which is part of the Maryland Department of Transportation. The Federal Rail Administration has awarded a $27 million grant to the Maryland Department of Transportation to handle the Environmental Impact Statement process, which includes studying various potential alignments and their potential impacts. There were no representatives of MTA at the July 10 meeting.
In response to a question from one of the Councilmembers at the July 10 meeting, Mr. Henley shared his company's anticipated timetable for the project:
- Decision to proceed - by February 2019
- Begin design and construction - late 2019
- Construction is expected to take 5 -7 years to complete.
View the July 10, 2017 City Council Meeting (2 hours, 35 minutes)
July 10 Presentation by David Henley, Project Director (pdf - 24 pages)
Bowie Blade-News article on July 10, 2017 meeting
Maryland Transit Authority (MTA) email to City Manager Lott (July 10, 2017)
Handout & Summary of Testimony by Citizens Against This SCMAGLEV (July 10, 2017)
April 5, 2017 Open House
Agencies involved in the project hosted an open house at the Bowie Community Center, on April 5, 2017. Although there was no formal presentation, residents were invited to attend and review and comment on the routes under consideration, the decision making process, and engineering, community, and environmental issues associated with the project.
Need More Information on the SCMAGLEV Proposal?
There is a great deal of information about the proposed project at http://baltimorewashingtonscmaglevproject.com. You can also sign up for the project mailing list there.
View MAGLEV Scoping Report on outreach efforts through 2016.
Residents can provide feedback on the project in the following manner:
Public comments via the project website:
Project Development Team
- Baltimore Washington Rapid Rail (BWRR)
David Henley, SCMAGLEV Project Director
6 S. Gay Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
State of Maryland Officials
- Maryland Department of Transportation
Director of Office of Freight and Multimodalism
7201 Corporate Center Drive
Hanover, MD 21076
- Maryland Transit Administration
Manager, Environmental Planning
Office of Planning and Programming
6 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD, 21202