Reporting Derek Valcourt
EDGEWOOD, Md. (WJZ) — MARC train riders in Harford County are set to see some major improvements at one of the popular MARC stops there.
Derek Valcourt explains the line is getting lots of love as it sees ridership increase.
Governor Martin O’Malley set a goal of doubling Maryland’s public transit use by 2020 and transit officials know meeting that goal requires improving their system.
MARC trains race through Edgewood at high speeds.
“So this is where we have to be,” said Jackie Puhalsky.
Riders like Jackie Puhalsky are realizing that these tracks are the quickest way to get to Baltimore or Washington.
“It will be a lot cheaper in the long run taking the train,” Puhalsky said.
And she isn’t alone.
The military base realignment has brought an extra 8,000 workers and their families to the Aberdeen area. Many of them are using the Penn line to travel. In fact, ridership on the Penn line is up about 18 percent. That’s part of why crews are fast at work building a brand new train station at the Edgewood stop, where before there was just a platform.
Until now, commuters have only had small three-sided shelters to take refuge from the rain, sleet and snow while they wait for their train. Now they’ll be able to walk inside a building. Construction began about a year ago.
Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger calls it a win for MTA commuters.
“Now we are going to have bathrooms, a place to go inside if it’s severe weather, a place to buy tickets. This is important if you want people to use mass transit,” Ruppersberger said.
The new train station comes with a $5 million price tag—$3.5 million in federal funds; the remaining $1.5 million in local and state dollars. Already there are more electronic screens and announcement equipment as the MTA looks to improve its service for Harford County riders.
“So what we’re trying to do is make sure people see all the values of transit and make sure that it’s appealing to people,” said MTA Administrator Ralign Wells.
And this project does just that.
Work on the new Edgewood station is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Edgewood isn’t the only MARC train station seeing improvements. The Halethorpe station is in the middle of a $26 million renovation project that will include new platforms and elevator towers. It should be completed by mid-2013.