Transit Backers Enter Hogan's $100 Million I-270 Competition
Proposal Shows More MARC Trains Best Use of Money
Press release issued November 14, 2016
The Action Committee for Transit submits its proposal today to upgrade MARC service by running more trains between Washington and Frederick. This is a first step toward the goal of all-day two-way passenger rail service on the line that connects Union Station, Silver Spring, Kensington, Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Frederick, and points in between.
ACT members, joined by District 18 delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez, gather at the Kensington MARC station at 10:30 Monday morning to mail their proposal to the Maryland Dept. of Transportation.
The submission responds to Governor Hogan's solicitation of proposals to spend $100 million dollars he has budgeted for "innovative" improvements to I-270 that would not involve adding lanes. Under ACT's proposal, the $100 million would:
- add a second train platform at Point of Rocks station so that Frederick-bound trains can stop there
- build a third track between the Monocacy River and Barnesville so that faster passenger trains can pass slow freight trains
- buy more train cars.
That would enable the Maryland Transit Administration to increase the number of daily round trips to Frederick from three to at least five.
"Virginia's expansions of VRE commuter trains are more cost-effective than its HOT lanes on I-495 or Maryland's ICC," said ACT board member Ben Shnider. "So why is the state Department of Transportation refusing to consider MARC trains in its Request For Proposals?"
"They're hoping that some consulting company will figure out a way to fit more cars on the same amount of asphalt on I-270. Either MDOT will spend $100 million for something with no meaningful impact," Shnider added, "or, if a consultant does figure something out, that will just dump more cars onto the Beltway, which is already jammed."
"We're submitting this proposal to show that there's a better way to spend the money," Shnider explained. "MDOT should withdraw its RFP and put the money into real, effective transportation solutions. We can't afford to waste $100 million on consultants' speculation."
Full text of the ACT proposal is here.