ELKTON — The MARC line could be making a long-awaited stop in Elkton as early as mid-2020, though a proposed MARC maintenance facility in Perryville has been put on the back burner due to a lack of funding, according to officials familiar with the projects.
Extending the MARC line to Elkton has long been a dream for officials in Cecil County, who have sought to increase residents’ regional mobility. Approximately half of the county’s workforce commutes outside of the county for work, according to the Cecil County Department of Economic Development.
Currently, MARC’s commuter line ends in Perryville, but this proposal to extend the line to Elkton and Newark, Del., — where it would intersect with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) — would give Cecil Countians a better opportunity to commute to Baltimore, Newark, Wilmington, Del., or Philadelphia for work.
Enabling more citizens to work around the region would allow for them to earn higher wages, thereby expanding Cecil County’s tax base and improving the county’s economy.
The extension will come in mid to late-2020 at the earliest, according to Sandy Arnette, a spokesperson for the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA).
Implementing the service requires funding and inter-state coordination. Arnette said discussions are ongoing between Cecil County officials, the Wilmington Area Planning Council (WILMAPCO), Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), SEPTA and Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT).
“In addition to funding both capital and operating costs, the MTA must amend or develop interagency agreements with SEPTA and DelDOT, receive approval from Amtrak to access at least 21 additional miles of track and operate service during time slots that best serve MARC train customers,” Arnette said.
MTA is currently reviewing a ridership study conducted by WILMAPCO to determine the service’s capacity needs. Transportation administrations are in talks of how to schedule time to best serve passengers.
Finding a storage facility for MARC north of Perryville is also necessary, whether it’s MTA-owned or leased. However, the proposal to build a facility in Perryville appears to have stalled for the time being.
“After an extensive site selection process, MTA had identified a site in Perryville that could be used for a new MARC maintenance facility,” Arnette said. “However, funding for this project was deferred to FY23 as part of a series of budget deferrals throughout the transportation system. Planning and design for this project has been stopped and may commence again if funding is identified and if the property is still available.”