Maryland/MARC Commuter Rail Improvements
MARC Commuter Rail Improvements
The Maryland Mass Transit Administration is proposing three projects for the Maryland Commuter Rail (MARC) system serving the Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC metropolitan areas. These projects are (1) Mid-Day Storage Facility, (2) Penn-Camden Connection, and (3) Silver Spring Intermodal Transit Center.
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, DC’s 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 construct an intermodal transit facility that relocates the Silver Spring MARC Station to the Silver Spring Metrorail station. 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 project total $33.3 million.
Section 3030(g)(2) of TEA-21 authorizes these projects as part of the Frederick extension, and will permit service improvements necessary to take full advantage of that extension. The proposed share of Federal funding from the Section 5309 new starts program is less than $25.0 million for each of the individual improvements, which renders them exempt from evaluation.
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; a Categorical Exclusion was issued in November 1999. A Finding of No Significant Impact was issued in October 1999 for the MARC Penn-Camden Connection, selected in the 1995 MARC Master Plan Study. An Environmental Assessment on the MARC Silver Spring Intermodal Center has been completed; FTA action is pending local decisionmaking.
TEA-21 Section 3030(a) authorizes the “MARC Commuter Rail Improvements “ for final design and construction. Through FY 2001, Congress has appropriated $14.36 million for these improvement projects.