A light-rail extension to BWI airport will carry commuters through Linthicum rather than along the Nursery Road business corridor, state transportation officials have decided.
The Mass Transit Administration, which has been studying extension routes since June, announced its choice Friday of a path that combines parts of two earlier proposals, neither of which was enthusiastically received by many Linthicumresidents.
The spur -- a little more than 2 miles long -- will cost about $31 million, said Beth Robinson, the MTA's community relations specialist.
It will depart from the main line south of the Linthicum station near Broadview Boulevard, cross Hammonds Ferry Road, run along thenorth edge of the Maryland Aviation Administration satellite parkinglot, and cross Route 170. Then it will run along north of Route 170 and across the intersection of Elm Road, Elkridge Landing Road and Route 170. It will travel along Elm Road to an airport terminus.
"A couple of communities may have concerns, but all in all, we think this is the alignment with the least opposition," Robinson said. Especially pleased are North Linthicum and Crestwood residents, who did not want trains running close to their homes along Nursery Road, she said.
Residents in Linthicum and Shipley are less happy with the MTA'schoice, said Bruce Fink, president of the Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association.
"We wanted the Nursery Road corridor," he said. "We don't think this is going to be used as much as (the Nursery Road)option would have been used," since most potential riders work in business parks along the corridor.
Fink said residents are also concerned about what train traffic will do to their neighborhoods. "If it's used at all, or used heavily, it means every train that goes to the airport has to go through Linthicum.
"We're not surprised. It's what the local councilman supported. It's better than the direct north route, but not our first option. If it was the north route, we would be laying down in front of bulldozers."
Many residents fought --and the MTA rejected -- the $27.3 million "direct connection north" route because it passed close to Andover High School.
Councilman George Bachman said he's "positively satisfied" with the MTA's choice,which is more similar to the 2.7-mile, $31.3 million "direct connection south" route he favored than to the northern route.
The MTA says it dismissed the Nursery Road route because it cost $79.4 million."The benefits of more direct service to the Nursery Road businesses did not justify the additional cost," MTA Administrator Ronald J. Hartman wrote in a Jan. 2 letter to elected officials.
Hartman said the Nursery Road route also had "serious environmental impacts in the area along the Patapsco Valley State Park and more community impacts than the preferred option."