LANHAM, Md. — Opponents of an ambitious proposal to build a floating bullet train between D.C. and Baltimore clashed with the NAACP Thursday, as tempers soared at a public meeting to discuss the stunning infrastructure project.
The proposed train would link D.C. and Baltimore in 15 minutes, travelling at a top speed of 311 mph. The vehicle itself is known as an SCMaglev, a train that uses superconducting magnets to levitate four inches off the ground.
"When you look at the future of rail transportation, we are so far behind the rest of the world, and now we have to catch up," Bob Ross, president of the Prince George’s County branch of the NAACP, said. "There will be plenty of opportunities for minority business to participate, and we won’t be behind the ball with this project."
While the backers of the SCMaglev and the NAACP outlined a vision of the world’s fastest train constructed over the next 10 years, the aspiration sharply clashed with visions most families in attendance held for their hometowns and neighborhoods.
"It’s disgusting for them to have this train come through our community," Riverdale resident Loretta Hinton said. "No one asked us if we wanted this train."
The SCMaglev would feature no stations in Prince George’s County, drawing the ire of residents along the proposed route.
Engineers and project backers said the train’s physics make stopping in the county impossible, since the train would accelerate out of a future station in D.C.'s Mount Vernon Square, and then quickly decelerate.
The project is in its final stages of development, with a decision on whether to build or table the $10 billion proposal expected by the end of 2020.
The design calls for no homes to be demolished, with approximately 30 miles of tunnel and 10 miles of elevated train tracks bordering BW Parkway. Tunnel depths would average 10 stories below ground, with engineers insisting residential foundations would incur no damage.