Environmental Impact Statement being prepared for Washington to Baltimore High Speed Superconducting Magnetic Levitation Train

Environmental Impact Statement being prepared for Washington to Baltimore High Speed Superconducting Magnetic Levitation Train :The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced on 25 November 2016 its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Baltimore to Washington SuperConducting Magnetic Levitation (SCMAGLEV) Project, jointly with the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT).

The intent is to construct and operate a High Speed SCMAGLEV train between Washington and Baltimore, with an intermediate stop at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall (BWI) Airport.

The SCMAGLEV is a magnetic levitation system that employs powerful magnetic forces for all aspects of operation, resulting in operating speeds of 500 kph (over 300 mph) in everyday service.
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The Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) and the company’s Railway Technical Research Institute developed the system.

FRA and MDOT will jointly develop the EIS, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended, and other applicable regulations and procedures.

The study area will be approximately 40 miles long and 10 miles wide.

The EIS will analyze the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of the alternatives on the social, economic, and environmental resources in the study area. This analysis will include identification of measures to avoid or mitigate significant adverse impacts.
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In November 2015 the Maryland Public Service Commission approved the Baltimore – Washington Rapid Rail’s (BWRR) application to acquire a passenger railroad franchise to deploy a SCMAGLEV system between Baltimore and Washington. BWRR is a private corporation and as the project sponsor and developer of the proposed SCMAGLEV service it will work with Federal and state agencies, including FRA and MDOT, to carry out the project.

In August 2016 Japan committed US$2 million in support of feasibility studies for the project. This sum complements the nearly $28 million in U.S. federal grants secured to complete the necessary environmental and engineering studies.
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BWRR has indicated it wishes to develop a SCMAGLEV system, potentially extending as far north as Boston and south to Charlotte.

BWRR’s proposed SCMAGLEV system would be designed to provide 15 minute services between new stations located in Baltimore and Washington and would run on a new, high quality guideway with bidirectional service, an automatic train control system, and no at-grade crossings. BWRR anticipates the project would be funded by a mix of federal, international, and private funding, and would include construction of the new SCMAGLEV guideway, stations, and maintenance facilities.
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The purpose is to increase capacity, reduce travel time and improve both reliability and mobility options between Baltimore and Washington. The population in the Baltimore-Washington area makes up one of the largest and densest population centers in the United States. Over the next 30 years the population in the area is projected to increase by approximately 30%. Similarly, the demand on the transportation infrastructure between Baltimore and Washington will continue to increase along major roadways and railways thereby decreasing the level of service, reliability, mobility, and potentially decreasing safety.

Additional information, including an updated meeting schedule, is located on the Project Web site:

http://www.BaltimoreWashingtonSCMaglevProject.com

The FRA and MDOT will hold a series of five Open Houses on the SCMAGLEV project. The schedule of Open House meetings can be found by clicking on the link below.

environmental-impact-statement-prepared-washington-baltimore-high-speed-superconducting-magnetic-levitation-train

Writer: John Carlo Ottaviani

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