06.12.18

Federal spending bill urges continued MARC service

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A committee report that accompanies a pending federal spending bill contains language that encourages the Federal Transit Administration to work with states in the Washington, D.C., area to maintain rail service providing commuter access to the nation's capital.

Adopted by the Senate Appropriations Committee, the language in support of Eastern Panhandle commuters who use the MARC train accompanies the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said last week.

A section of a committee recommendation in the report accompanying the bill states: "The committee is concerned that transit service for federal workers in the Washington, D.C., area may become disrupted for those living in nearby states if service is suspended or terminated on lines relied upon by employees.

"The committee encourages (the Federal Transit Administration) to work with states to help them maintain rail service providing commuter access to Washington, D.C."

Del. Riley Moore, R-Jefferson, said Tuesday in a news release that he applauded the senator's efforts, including the recommendation in the legislation, which is on track to be taken up by the full Senate.

"The language I offered and the committee approved demonstrates our commitment to helping commuters in the Eastern Panhandle get to their jobs and their families safely and efficiently,” Capito said in the release. “I will continue working to ensure the Federal Transit Administration is aware of the importance of this critical transportation resource.”

The committee's passage of the bill comes ahead of Thursday's joint meeting of the Berkeley County (W.Va.) Council and Jefferson County (W.Va.) Commission and West Virginia Secretary of Transportation Tom Smith concerning the MARC train issue.

The session at the Jefferson County Commission's meeting room at 200 E. Washington St. is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.

In the joint announcement with Capito, Moore, who is seeking re-election in the upcoming November general election, noted that “a permanent solution for the MARC train must include all the stakeholders — federal, state and local — with additional stops being added back to the schedule."

"We will accomplish this with no tax increases — period," Moore said in the release. "My constituents who ride the train pay Charleston (W.Va.) multiples more than the cost to cover MARC service. It’s time to see some more of our hard-earned money come back up this direction.”

West Virginia lawmakers approved legislation to provide $1.5 million in state funds to preserve operation of the MARC service, which is run by the state of Maryland, at least for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

MARC train service in the Eastern Panhandle operates Monday to Friday, with stations in Harpers Ferry and Duffields in Jefferson County and Martinsburg in Berkeley County.


By:  Matthew Umstead
Source: Herald-Mail