Dear Friends,

I would like to bring you up to date on the SCMaglev project, a high speed train using super magnetic conductor technology, which if built will span 40 miles from Baltimore to Washington D.C.

The SCMaglev is an unprecedented mass transit project proposed by a group of private equity firms and corporations in a coalition called the BWRR (Baltimore Washington Rapid Rail). BWRR obtained an initial taxpayer funded grant from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to study the Maglev feasibility and environmental impact. The study, called the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), was released a few weeks ago. Until now the degree of the impact was not completely understood.

The project sponsors have already accessed federal funds to initiate the DEIS and have also indicated that they will seek further federal money (not state money), placing this project in direct competition with other public mass transit projects which address equity and economic concerns. Maglev fares are proposed to be as much as $79 each way. 

Senator Douglas JJ Peters and I sent a letter to the Maryland Secretary of Transportation which assisted in extending the public comment period from 45 to 90 days. You can read that letter here.

While the entire DEIS is very long, the maps and the appendices tell us about the negative impact on our local communities.  Please take the time to read the DEIS at this link and use the drop-down menu near the top of the page to view and/or download the various sections of the statement. The appendices are available in a separate drop-down menu.

It is important for all residents to take the time to understand the immense impact of this project and share this information with neighbors, HOAs and Community Associations who may be interested. Please submit your public comments about the DEIS and take note that there is a “NO BUILD ALTERNATIVE” you can advocate for before APRIL 22, 2021. Submit your comments online here
Ombudsman Office
For the third year in a row I have submitted a bill mandating the creation of an Ombudsman at the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) where citizens and residents can reach out and get timely, transparent and accurate answers about private transportation projects in our communities. In response to my advocacy effort last year, MDOT did initiate an Ombudsman office in March of 2020 and it just became accessible online last week. The Ombudsman will receive and respond to complaints and inquiries regarding private sector and public transportation projects being developed or tested within the State. The Ombudsman is involved only after the complaint has not been satisfactorily addressed by the private sector entity, or MDOT office. As a neutral resource, the Ombudsman assures that all sides in a matter are heard and attempts to resolve the conflict. I am cautiously optimistic that this office will turn into a good resource for residents. You may find the link to the Ombudsman office here. Notwithstanding this development, I continue to advocate for HB 510 which assures statutory authority for the Ombudsman office so it is not subject to the will of changing Administrations and MDOT Secretaries. You can review HB 510 and track its progress here.
Community Advocacy 
There are community advocacy groups who are collectively working to combat the lack of public information and help advocate for DEIS comments which you may consider joining such as the Maryland Coalition for Responsible Transit found here , Stop This Train found here, and Citizens Against SCMaglev.

Given that this project remains within the purview of the federal government, I continue to encourage you to email your position and concerns, if any, about Maglev to the entire Maryland Congressional Delegation as they will control future federal spending for this project. Their emails can be found here and here.
As always please reach out with any questions or concerns and please continue to practice good public health habits as we await vaccinations. It remains my great privilege to represent you. 

Geraldine Valentino-Smith
Delegate, Maryland House of Delegates, District 23A
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By Authority of Friends For Geraldine Valentino-Smith, Elizabeth Ryan, Treasurer