Moore promises investment in MARC trains and balks at high-speed rail

ODENTON, MD — Wes Moore visited an Anne Arundel County train station Wednesday morning to highlight his transit plan.

The Democratic candidate for governor plans to invest in the commuter train. He thinks Maryland’s rail network has room to grow.

The Maryland Area Rail Commuter, also known as the MARC train, is central to Moore’s plan. He wants to make it faster and more reliable to boost access to employment.

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At Moore’s campaign event at Odenton MARC station, a commuter interrupted and asked the candidate for his position on the high-speed train. Patch was unable to interview the passenger, who boarded the MARC after her conversation with Moore.

“We need faster trains in the United States,” the unknown passenger told Moore.

Find out what’s happening in Odenton-Severnwith free real-time Patch updates.

Wes Moore (bottom) explains his position on the high-speed train to a commuter (left) who asked his opinion on Wednesday. (Jacob Baumgart/Patch)

Traveler was very interested in the proposal to build a superconducting magnetic levitation train between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. This largely underground train, known as MAGLEV, is currently stuck in government exams and land acquisition debates. There are still years to go before we get final approval, and there are a lot of hurdles to clear before then.

If ever approved and built, the MAGLEV train would run from Baltimore to Washington in 15 minutes. It would be traveling at 311 mph and make an intermediate stop at Thurgood Marshall International Airport in Baltimore/Washington. The developers of Baltimore Washington Rapid Train eventually hopes to expand the route to New York, connecting DC and Manhattan with a one-hour train ride.

Moore did not express outright support or opposition to the MAGLEV train, which would have a high price tag and require the acquisition of private property. Instead, he focused on advancing existing infrastructure.

“We need to be able to leverage the assets that we have right now,” Moore told the passenger who interviewed him.

At the event, Anne Arundel County Democrats also prioritized commuter rail over high-speed rail.

County Executive Steuart Pittman, State House District 33A candidate Andrew Pruski and County Board 4 hopeful Julie Hummer all agreed that MAGLEV was still in the study phase. Improving MARC should be a priority, the three Democrats said.

Related: Maglev Foe launches 11-hour bid to impose new costs on rail company

Steuart Pittman (left), Andrew Pruski (second from left), Julie Hummer (second from right) and Wes Moore (right) all agreed that improving the MARC train is more important than adding a train at high speed for now. (Jacob Baumgart/Patch)

Patch spoke with Moore after the event and asked for clarification on his MAGLEV stance.

Moore again did not give a firm opinion on the controversial proposal. He said he plans to evaluate all transportation options considering equity, affordability, environmentalism and community awareness before making decisions.

The candidate has again pivoted and named MARC as a railway network in which he absolutely wants to invest.

“Make it faster, make it more accessible, make it more consistent, be able to move people faster than we can with existing lines,” Moore said in our exclusive interview. “That has to be the priority as we have these conversations about how we move people who use public transport.”

Moore said the Light Rail Link is another growth opportunity.

“We’re going to have to be really thoughtful and creative,” Moore said. “People are moving differently now. People are moving with new economies.”

Moore also mentioned that growing industries and employment hubs must be part of transit considerations. He cited nearby Fort George G. Meade, which is the largest employer in the statefor example.

Maryland’s transportation network should prioritize moving commuters to and from these economic hubs, Moore said. He believes a targeted transportation system will connect residents to more jobs in the state.

Moore further predicted that robust rail service would reduce car trips and minimize traffic.

“We need to make sure we deal with congestion and can get people from where they live to where they work,” Moore said. “We have real challenges in this state being able to close that circle, and so we’re going to make sure that we invest in transportation assets.”

Wes Moore (left) laughs with a commuter (right) taking the MARC train to Washington, DC (Jacob Baumgart/Patch)

Patch also reached out to Republican candidate Dan Cox’s campaign. We asked for details on Cox’s plan for the Maryland Railroads.

Cox’s team has not yet responded to our request for comment. We’ll update this story if we hear back.

Additional information about Moore is available at wesmoore.com. Visit coxforfreedom.com to learn more about Cox.

To read Patch’s statewide voter guide for the November 8 general election, click here. Anne Arundel’s County Guide to Patch is displayed at this link.

Related:

Wes Moore (left) shakes hands with a commuter (right) getting off the MARC train in Odenton. (Jacob Baumgart/Patch)

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Jose P. Rogers