Maryland/MARC Commuter Rail Improvement Projects

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MARC Commuter Rail Improvements Projects


(November 1999)

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The Maryland Mass Transit Administration is proposing a series of major capital improvements for the Maryland Commuter Rail (MARC) system serving the Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC metropolitan areas. To date, these proposed improvements include: Mid-Day Storage Facility, Penn-Camden Connection, and the Silver Spring Intermodal Transit Center. Total estimated capital costs for the set of proposed improvements equals $85.1 million. Proposed Section 5309 New Starts funds total $40.9 million.

The proposed Mid-Day Storage Facility would be used for daytime equipment layover, minor repair, daily servicing and inspections of commuter rail train sets within the Amtrak Yard at Washington, DCís Union Station. Platforms that are currently used to store these trains at Union Station will no longer be available following the introduction of high-speed Amtrak service, and the new facility will avoid the operating cost of sending trains back to Baltimore for mid-day storage. MTA will lease the five-acre site owned by Amtrak. Estimated capital costs for the project total $21.0 million.

The Penn-Camden Connection is a six-mile connection between the MARC Camden Line and MARC Penn Line/Amtrak Northeast Corridor in southwest Baltimore. The connection of these two commuter rail lines is designed to achieve many benefits: the opportunity to remove trains from the congested Camden line for reverse peak movements; access to the planned MARC Maintenance Facility to be located along the connection; and, increased operating flexibility on both commuter rail lines, allowing redirection of MARC service during periods of CSX freight operations. Estimated capital costs for the project total $30.8 million.

The proposed Silver Spring Intermodal Transit Center, located in suburban Washington, DC, will relocate the Silver Spring MARC Station to the Silver Spring Metrorail station (Phase I) as well as construct an intermodal transit center at the station (Phase II). The transit center would allow convenient passenger transfers between several modes of travel, including commuter rail, heavy rail, commuter and local bus service, taxi, bicycle, auto, and pedestrians. The center will also accommodate the proposed Georgetown Branch Trolley to operate between Silver Spring and Bethesda. Located in the Silver Spring, MD central business district, a major transit hub for lower Montgomery County, the intermodal transit center will more efficiently meet existing and future transit needs of this area. Estimated capital costs for the transit center phase of the project total $33.3 million.

Section 3030(g)(2) of TEA-21 authorizes this project as part of the Frederick extension, and it will permit service improvements necessary to take full advantage of that extension. No summary rating has been assigned to this project. It was authorized as an addition to the Frederick extension, which was evaluated and issued an FFGA under the criteria and procedures in effect under ISTEA, and project sponsors have not yet provided sufficient information to rate the Commuter Rail Improvements project. Further, the proposed share of Federal funding from the §5309 new starts program is less than $25.0 million for each of the individual improvements, which would render them exempt from evaluation if MARC proceeds on each of the three project components separately. However, since this is a single project as authorized in TEA-21, it must be evaluated and rated according to §5309(e) in order to be eligible for an FFGA. FTA is working with the Maryland MTA to develop the necessary information to evaluate and move each of these proposed improvements through the planning and project development process.

Summary Description

Proposed Project:

Commuter Rail Improvements

Total Capital Cost (YOE):

$85.1 million

Section 5309 New Starts Share (YOE):

$40.9 million

Annual Operating Cost (YOE):

Not reported at this time


The proposed MARC Commuter Rail Improvements are in varying stages of planning and project development. Preliminary engineering on the MARC Mid-Day storage facility is complete and final design is in progress. Environmental studies, which resulted in a Categorical Exclusion, have been submitted to FTA. A preferred alignment for the MARC Penn-Camden Connection was selected in the 1995 MARC Master Plan Study and the Environmental Assessment resulted in a Finding of No Significant Impact. A request for a Categorical Exclusion on the MARC Silver Spring Intermodal Center has been submitted to FTA and is scheduled for March, 2000.

TEA-21 Section 3030(a) authorizes the "MARC Commuter Rail Improvements " for final design and construction. Through FY 2000, Congress has appropriated $4.45 million for these improvement projects.


Locally Proposed Financing Plan

(Reported in $YOE)


Proposed Source of Funds

Total Funding ($million)


Appropriations to Date

  Section 5309 New Starts

Other Federal



($4.45 million appropriated through FY 2000)






NOTE: Funding proposal reflects assumptions made by project sponsors, and are not DOT or FTA assumptions. Totals may not add due to rounding.

MARC Commuter Rail Improvements Project (map)