HANOVER, MD – The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) has launched an update of the Maryland State Rail Plan and is seeking input from MARC and Amtrak rail passengers, the general public, and other freight and passenger rail stakeholders through an online survey and other avenues to help set priorities and goals for efficient, safe and sustainable freight and passenger rail service across the state.

The 20-year Maryland State Rail Plan includes a listing of rail projects and outlines public and private investments and policies that help MDOT work with the railroad industry and others to support rail needs. The plan, updated every five years, focuses on MARC, Amtrak and freight operators, including CSX, Norfolk Southern and regional operators across the state. The plan does not include Light Rail or Metro subway service. State rail plans are required under the federal Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, and serve as a guide and resource during applications for federal funds through grants and other programs.

“A vibrant and up-to-date rail system is crucial for Maryland’s economy, providing access to jobs and moving goods across the state and the region,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “We need the input of residents, commuters and our industry partners to help us ensure the Maryland State Rail Plan accurately reflects our goals and a strategic vision for rail system needs and opportunities.”

Passengers, residents, and others are invited to take part in an online survey now available HERE. The survey is available online through January 15, 2021, and asks participants to give impressions of existing service, rank their priorities for future rail service, and offer suggestions for new or expanded infrastructure. Comments may also be submitted via email to MDStateRailPlan@mdot.maryland.gov or mailed to MDOT Office of Freight and Multimodalism, ATTN: Maryland State Rail Plan, 7201 Corporate Center Dr., Hanover, MD 21076. For more information on the Maryland State Rail Plan update, click HERE.

After the public comment period, an advisory committee will review comments, hold meetings and conduct stakeholder interviews. A draft of the updated plan is expected to be prepared by summer 2021.

The 20-year Maryland State Rail Plan is required by the Federal Railroad Administration and is developed by MDOT’s Office of Freight and Multimodalism and Office of Planning and Capital Programming, in collaboration with the MDOT Maryland Transit Administration. The MARC and Amtrak passenger rail elements of the State Rail Plan will help inform the commuter and intercity rail component of MDOT’s first-ever Statewide Transit Plan, which will provide a 50-year vision of all modes of coordinated local, regional and intercity transit across the state. The Statewide Transit Plan will define public transportation goals and strategies for Maryland’s rural, suburban and urban regions with a vision toward increasingly coordinated, equitable, and innovative mobility. Information gathered as part of each study will be shared between the two plans.

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