ANNAPOLIS, Maryland — Two trains will be added to MARC's Camden Line to boost service between the Baltimore and College Park campuses of the University of Maryland, the nominee for transportation chief told lawmakers Monday.
Pete Rahn let slip details of the planned service change at a state Senate committee hearing Monday on his nomination by Gov. Larry Hogan. Rahn was approved unanimously by the committee and his nomination now advances to consideration by the full Senate.
Rahn said he didn't know the costs of adding new trains and said further details of the schedule adjustment would be released Tuesday.
Sen. James Rosapepe, D-Prince George's County, who represents College Park, said the plan is to add two additional trains on the line that runs between Washington and Baltimore, though only one will make the full trip between both cities.
What the nominee did share, however, was that work on cutting costs for the Red Line would not begin until the planning stages of the Purple Line were complete. That news had some Senators worried after hearing last week from Rahn that bids for the two light-rail proposals had been pushed back from March until August to explore cost savings opportunities.
"They always say in business that time is money," said Sen. Nathaniel McFadden, D-Baltimore City. "The longer the procurement for the Red Line is delayed, the less likely is it that you'll have hard numbers to conduct an accurate view of the project's cost."
McFadden noted that rising inflation and the passage of time could reduce the likelihood that the U.S. Department of Transportaiton would enter into a full funding grant agreement with the state for the Red Line.
The Purple Line would run 16 miles with 21 stations between Bethesda and New Carrollton in Montgomery and Prince George's counties. The estimated cost is about $2.4 billion. The Red Line is an east-west public transit line in Baltimore. The estimated cost for the Red Line is about $2.6 billion.
Rahn defended the projects' prioritization, explaining that he didn't believe "that one was mutually exclusive of the other."
"I don't believe the assessment that what we're doing with the Purple Line automatically means a delay on the Red Line," Rahn said. "I don't think we've done anything on the Purple Line that has delayed the timeline on the Red Line."
Rahn's nod from the Senate Executive Nomination Committee was one of a handful of secretary nominations given approval. Among the others was Rona E. Kramer for the Department of Aging, Ben Grumbles for the Maryland Department of the Environment and Kenneth Holt to the Department of Housing and Community Development.
The nomination for Michael Gill, as business and economic development secretary, was postponed for another week at the request of Sen. Joan Carter Conway, D-Baltimore City.
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