Maglev, as proposed, can't be successful Having...

Letters to the editor

May 26, 2002

Maglev, as proposed, can't be successful

Having attended several meetings about Maglev over the past year, I read with interest both articles on the Maglev coming through Howard County (April 24 and 27). While it amused me to no end to learn that the Rouse Company is wearing the NIMBY hat quite proudly, I also have to disagree with U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski and Delegate John Glanetti in supporting this project.

If I were to look into the future right now, as Delegate Glanetti suggested, what I'd see is Maryland making an extraordinary monetary commitment to fund a train that will not work unless it is connected to major cities from Boston, to Charlotte, N.C. To my knowledge, states along this route have not committed to Maglev. They have not set aside an alignment study area. They have not signed on the dotted line to make this seaboard route a reality. Without everyone committing in concert, piecemeal construction begun by Maryland will become a boondoggle as we foot the bill for a Maglev system that may never reach beyond Maryland's borders.

The Maglev has been touted as the wave of the future in transportation by connecting Baltimore, BWI and Washington, D.C., along with a possible stop located around I-95 and I-495. Riders would travel from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., in 17 minutes for $26 one-way, or a 13-minute ride from BWI to Washington, D.C., for an undisclosed amount. This is cost prohibitive for the average worker.

Would Maglev get you to work in 17 minutes? The answer is no, unless you work right at the stations. Don't forget to factor in drive time to the station to get on Maglev and walking/bus time from the station to your work. Does it really save you that much time? Maglev is being promoted as the answer to the rider's daily commute, but the reality is that it's best use is for commerce. Transporting items will be the way to get trucks off of I-95. Can commerce afford to send items this way?

I think the state needs to assess the effects of the new light rail transit plan for the Baltimore region before committing to something like Maglev. The new light rail transit plan will alleviate a lot of trips because it has culled citizen responses through questionnaires on life activities. The determination to put rail where people want to go (hospitals, parks, malls, colleges, employment centers, etc.) will greatly impact transportation on our roads. Wouldn't it be wise to see this plan executed over the next ten years first, before committing to a fiscally draining transportation plan like Maglev that has no interstate commitment, benefits commerce more than commuters and has yet to realize support from "we, the people"?

Valerie L. McGuire

Ellicott City

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