Today the South Baltimore 7 Coalition (SB7), a nonprofit organization working on behalf of the South Baltimore communities, added its support for the proposed Superconducting Maglev high-speed passenger train project (the “Maglev”) and its developer, Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail (BWRR). More specifically, SB7 backed the proposed Maglev station atop the Maryland Transit Administration’s Cherry Hill Light Rail station.
A Community Benefits Agreement is planned to detail BWRR’s activities with, and contributions to, South Baltimore communities. The developer looks forward to working closely with communities as the Federally mandated NEPA process is completed, particularly upon Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) approval of the project and selection of Cherry Hill as the Baltimore station. SB7 and BWRR are committed to working together in the coming weeks on further details.
“SB7 has been successful in engaging with initiatives that deliver results in South Baltimore — and we want the Maglev to be one of those,” said Michael Middleton, Chair and President of SB7 Coalition and executive director of the Cherry Hill Development Corporation. “We also want our government officials to support us, including the FRA completing the Federal review process and selecting Cherry Hill for the Baltimore station. It would significantly increase attention in the South Baltimore area by generating opportunities for economic development, housing and entertainment,” he added.
“I am extremely humbled by SB7’s critical support for a South Baltimore station in Cherry Hill, which will bring large-scale investment, access to approximately 200 permanent jobs at the station, many thousands of other jobs to build and operate the service, MBE/WBE contracts, workforce development, and much more,” expressed Wayne Rogers, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BWRR. “And I am excited to establish a rapport with the communities represented by SB7 long before construction begins on the largest transportation infrastructure project in Maryland’s history.”
As BWRR’s preferred site, the proposed station in Cherry Hill builds on recent strategic decisions to attract additional resources to South Baltimore as a major destination. Notable initiatives such as Port Covington and Reimagine Middle Branch are among the other projects coming to fruition that will help to redefine the future of the area. When the Maglev’s construction is complete, its timing should align well with the myriad efforts underway.
"Our communities are looking for great partners and great possibilities. Over the last few years, we learned that the Maglev project offers both. We can work with BWRR on issues we care about, like more STEM education, employment, transportation, and other opportunities for our residents,” shared Pam Oliver, chair of SB7’s Transportation Committee and director of Lakeland Community Association Partnership, Inc.
About SB7 Coalition
The SB7 Coalition was formed as the result of a nearly peerless partnership between six community organizations located in South Baltimore and the private development entity that sought to build a 26-acre site across Middle Branch, Port Covington. Through two years of intensive negotiating, fact-finding, and examination of best practices across the country, representatives from the communities of Brooklyn, Cherry Hill, Curtis Bay, Lakeland, Mount Winans, and Westport, along with representatives from the Port Covington Development Team, agreed to a framework for funding community priority projects and working together to advance an ongoing partnership. The resulting Community Benefits Agreement encompasses the six neighborhoods as represented by their community organizations:
- Concerned Citizens for a Better Brooklyn
- Cherry Hill Community Coalition
- Community of Curtis Bay Association
- Lakeland Community Association Partnership
- Mt. Winans Community Association
- Westport Neighborhood Association
In the months following the execution of the Community Benefits Agreement, it became clear that a more formal corporate structure was needed to manage the flow of funds, joint program and funding efforts as well as support the member organizations. SB7 incorporated in May of 2017 as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation.
About Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail
Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail (BWRR) is an American company that is the developer for the Baltimore-Washington Superconducting Maglev (SCMAGLEV) project. The SCMAGLEV system is the world’s fastest ground transportation system and will connect Washington, DC to Baltimore in 15 minutes. The SCMAGLEV system is a safe and transformative transportation solution that will revolutionize how people live and work in the most congested region of the country. Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) is currently extending their SCMAGLEV, in operation since 1998, to connect Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. Learn more at www.NortheastMaglev.com