Md. Gas Tax Hike Funds Weekend MARC Service & Red Line Light Rail

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—It looks like Maryland is putting those new gas tax dollars to use.

Pat Warren reports on the governor’s new big thing for commuters in the state.

The state expects to spend more than $4 billion on transportation projects in the next six years.

There’s new money for Baltimore’s Light Rail Red Line, even though residents still differ on whether it’s a good idea.

“I think they’re wasting their money. I think they’re wasting their time, and I think they need to design it better,” one opponent said.

“You can nitpick at anything, but this is a really good plan,” a proponent said.

There is also a new option for MARC train commuters: weekend service.

The state plans to offer nine round trips on Saturdays and six on Sundays, starting Dec. 7.

“That will make a tremendous difference to people like me, to people who got jobs they need to get to on weekends,” a man said.

“It’s all about the investments we make together,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said.

In recent weeks, Gov. O’Malley has been rolling out transportation projects in the state.

Marylanders crossing the Dover Bridge over the Choptank River have learned to cross their fingers that it won’t lock up on them when it opens for marine traffic below.

“The bridge is 80 years old,” O’Malley said. “Often times it malfunctions, things back up, sometimes ambulances on critical runs have to go for miles and miles along the river in order to get sick people to the hospital.”

The state is spending $50 million to start replacing the bridge that connects Talbot and Caroline counties.

And there’s something new for commuters to experience at the Halethorpe station on the MARC train Penn Line. It’s the view from the bridge. The pedestrian walkway is one of the nearly $33 million in improvements at the station.

Wednesday’s announcements allocate another $1.5 billion of the new gas tax money; $519 million of it will go to construction of the Red Line route, a 14.9 mile stretch of light rail between Woodlawn and Johns Hopkins Bayview.

“These mass transit investments, like the investments we make in the Red Line, are a big important part of what it’s going to take to create a smarter, cleaner and greener future,” O’Malley said.

The O’Malley administration wants taxpayers to see where their money is being spent.

The Maryland General Assembly passed the gas tax increase this session.

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