ODENTON, MD — Wes Moore visited an Anne Arundel County train station Wednesday morning to highlight his public transportation plan.
The Democratic nominee for governor plans to invest in commuter rail. He believes Maryland’s train network has room to grow.
The Maryland Area Rail Commuter, also known as the MARC train, lies at the heart of Moore’s plan. He wants to make it faster and more reliable to boost access to jobs.
During Moore’s campaign event at the Odenton MARC Train Station, a commuter interrupted and asked the nominee for his stance on high-speed rail. Patch could not interview the passenger, who boarded the MARC after her conversation with Moore.
“We need faster trains in the U.S.,” the unknown rider told Moore.
The traveler was most interested in the proposal to build a superconducting magnetic levitation train between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. That largely underground train, known as the MAGLEV, is currently stuck in government reviews and land acquisition debates. It is still years away from seeking final approval, and there are plenty of hurdles to clear before then.
If ever approved and constructed, the MAGLEV train would go from Baltimore to Washington in 15 minutes. It would travel at 311 mph and have an intermediate stop at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The developers at Baltimore Washington Rapid Rail hope to eventually extend the route to New York City, connecting DC and Manhattan with an hour-long train ride.
Moore did not express his outright support or opposition to the MAGLEV train. He instead emphasized advancing existing infrastructure.
“We’ve got to be able to leverage the assets we have now,” Moore told the passenger who questioned him.
At the event, Anne Arundel County Democrats also prioritized commuter trains over high-speed rail.
County Executive Steuart Pittman, State House District 33A candidate Andrew Pruski and County Council District 4 hopeful Julie Hummer all agreed that the MAGLEV was still in the study phases. Improving the MARC should be a bigger emphasis, the three Democrats said.
Patch spoke with Moore after the event and asked for clarification on his MAGLEV stance.
Moore again did not give a firm opinion on the controversial proposal. He said he plans to evaluate all transportation options with an eye toward equity, affordability, environmentalism and community outreach before making decisions.
The candidate again pivoted and pointed to the MARC as a train network that he definitely wants to invest in.
“Make it faster, make it more accessible, make it more consistent, be able to move people in a faster way than we can with existing lines,” Moore said in our exclusive interview. “That needs to be the priority as we’re having these conversations about how we are moving people who are using mass transit.”
Moore said the Light Rail Link is another growth opportunity.
“We’re going to have to be really thoughtful and creative,” Moore said. “People are moving around differently now. People are moving around with new economies.”
Moore also mentioned that growing industries and job hubs must be part of transit considerations. He cited nearby Fort George G. Meade, which is the state’s largest employer, as an example.
Maryland’s transportation network should prioritize moving commuters to and from these economic centers, Moore said. He thinks a targeted transit system will connect residents with more jobs around the state.
Moore additionally predicted that robust rail service would reduce car commutes and minimize traffic.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re dealing with the congestion and being able to get people from where they live to where their jobs are,” Moore said. “We have real difficulties in this state by being able to complete that circle, and so we’re going to make sure we’re investing in transportation assets.”
Patch also contacted the campaign of Republican nominee Dan Cox. We asked for details on Cox’s plan for Maryland railways.
Cox’s team has not yet responded to our request for comment. We will update this story if we hear back.
The article Moore Promises MARC Train Investments, Balks At High-Speed Rail appeared first on Odenton-Severn Patch.