ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Wes Moore today announced that the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration has signed framework agreements with Delaware Transit Corp. and the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority for the potential future expansion of MARC Train Service to Newark, Del. and Alexandria, Va. The agreements outline next steps to advance discussions and explore pilot service opportunities.
“Maryland is committed to working with our neighbors to increase convenient and accessible transit across the entire region because we know an expanded transit network leads to expanded opportunities for everyone,” said Gov. Moore. “The partnerships outlined in these agreements will help us bring greater options to thousands of potential transit riders.”
“These agreements are critical to developing a regional streamlined transportation network that will connect communities across state lines,” said Lt. Governor Miller. “We look forward to working together with Virginia and Delaware to better serve transit users in our three states.”
Creating a seamless continuation of MARC Train service both north and south of Maryland is a critical component to transforming MARC Train from a local, commuter rail to a regional rail provider. Expansion of MARC service is included in the MARC Cornerstone Plan and the Maryland State Rail Plan. The Maryland Transit Administration is committed to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to advance the expansion of MARC service as part of its mission to increase transit access and options for all of Maryland’s citizens.
“We must take a regional approach to create a fully connected transportation network, and these agreements will help us deliver seamless transit service across state lines,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld. “Maryland is working to create a transit network that expands opportunities and options for all customers. Collaboration with our partners in Virginia and Delaware is critical in that mission.”
To advance MARC service to Newark, the Maryland Transit Administration and Delaware Transit Corp. will engage with regional stakeholders and agencies to help determine operational and infrastructure needs. Ultimately, these efforts are designed to close the commuter rail gap in Cecil County and create a seamless connection between MARC and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority system.
To provide MARC run-through service into Virginia, the Maryland Transit Administration will continue to coordinate with the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority, Virginia Railway Express, Amtrak and CSX. Future service depends on completion of the Long Bridge project, which includes a new rail bridge spanning the Potomac River from the District of Columbia to Virginia, and other related fourth-track projects in the District and in Northern Virginia.
MARC run-through service would expand economic opportunities by enabling a direct, one-seat ride between homes and employment centers in Maryland and Northern Virginia. In the short term, Maryland will coordinate with Virginia Railway Express on improvements to existing connections at Washington Union Station.
“This partnership on a framework agreement is an important first step forward for VPRA to further advance the Commonwealth's goal of reducing congestion on our roads and highways by providing more reliable, consistent, and accessible passenger rail transportation options,” said Virginia Passenger Rail Authority Executive Director DJ Stadtler. “We look forward to continued coordination with the Maryland Transit Administration as we work to better connect people and communities across the region.”
The signing of framework agreements with transit agencies in Delaware and Virginia follows the Maryland Transit Administration’s recent memorandum of understanding and funding agreement with Amtrak to replace the 150-year-old B&P Tunnel in Baltimore with the new Frederick Douglass Tunnel. The project will significantly improve speed, capacity and reliability for MARC customers and will provide an updated West Baltimore MARC station that’s compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.