O’Malley announces $690M for Red Line in Baltimore

The MARC commuter train between Baltimore and Washington will run on Saturdays and Sundays starting in December, Gov. Martin O’Malley announced Wednesday.

The announcement was part of a new package of transportation projects that will cost a combined $1.5 billion. The funding was made possible by an increase in the state’s gasoline tax approved by the General Assembly this year.

“Addressing our transportation needs in Baltimore, and throughout Maryland, remains one of the toughest challenges we face as a state,” said Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to succeed O’Malley as governor.

The MARC weekend service will cost $46 million. The state plans to offer nine round trips on Saturdays and six on Sundays, starting on Dec. 7.

The biggest chunk of the new funds, $689 million, will go toward the Red Line in Baltimore. The Red Line is a proposed 14-mile east-west light rail line between Woodlawn in Baltimore County and the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in east Baltimore. State officials hope to start construction as early as 2015 and have it open for service in 2021, but that’s dependent on the success of a complex funding formula.

The announcement also included $52 million to buy 10 new diesel locomotives for MARC and to add two daily round trips to weekday service on the commuter rail service’s Camden Line. Another $246 million will be used to replace the Baltimore Metro subway line’s fleet of 100 rail cars and 15 miles of signaling systems.

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