Several Md. lawmakers ‘vigorously’ oppose proposed high-speed rail route

WASHINGTON — A group of lawmakers from Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties want Maryland’s transportation department to drop a route from consideration for a high-speed rail project that would connect Baltimore and D.C.

Maryland State Sen. James Rosapepe said the lawmakers aren’t against the maglev project, which could provide high-speed rail service at speeds of up to 300 mph between the cities. But Rosapepe said the so-called “Amtrak” route — one of three under consideration — is too disruptive to communities.

As its name suggests, the Amtrak route follows the current Penn Line corridor between Baltimore and D.C., slicing through sections of both Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.

Referring to the group of state lawmakers — including Sen. Joanne Benson, Del. Barbara Frush, Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Del. Ben Barnes, Del. Erek Barron and Del. Jazz Lewis — who signed the letter to Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn, Rosapepe said, “We have vigorously opposed any routes that would disrupt existing communities, businesses, etc.”

Maryland Department of Transportation spokesperson Erin Henson said the state has been working with the Federal Railroad Administration to get the Amtrak alignment taken off the table for consideration.

Rosapepe said he has not seen official notification that the alignment is out of contention.

Henson referred back to an Oct. 14 letter from Rahn, stating that officials would not sign off on any alignment that “would harm local communities or affect the quality of life of the citizens along the proposed path.”

The project would employ high-speed magnetic levitation technology and is projected to cost between $10 to $12 billion. The cancellation of the Amtrak route leaves two alternatives: one to the west of the Baltimore Washington Parkway and one to the east of the federally-owned parkway.

The project is in the early stages of a federal environmental review.

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