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House OKs MARC legislation

ANNAPOLIS – The House of Delegates Monday approved legislation that would force the French national railroad to publish records regarding its role in the Holocaust in order for its subsidiary to win a MARC train contract.

The compromise legislation, which passed on a 137-0 vote, targets SNCF. From 1942 to 1944, some 76,000 people were transported in SNCF cattle cars to the French border, where German engineers drove the last leg of the trip to concentration camps.

SNCF owns a majority of Keolis America, which, through subsidiary Keolis Rail Services America, is seeking the contract to run MARC’s Camden and Brunswick lines.

HB 520 would require SNCF to pay for teams overseen by Maryland’s archivist to catalog and digitize records relating to the deportations, and post them online. The company estimates it could complete the work in four to six months.

The Senate has already passed a version of the legislation, and would have to agree to the House’s bill before it could take effect. Sen. Joan Carter Conway, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate and chairwoman of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, said Friday the House’s changes “strengthen the bill.”

CSX Transportation Inc. is operating the Camden and Brunswick lines on a two-year, $118 million contract. The Maryland Department of Transportation is expected to open the bidding process for that contract this year.