The sponsor of a bill that would expand MARC train service into northern Virginia is confident that the Maryland Senate will uphold the House of Delegates' vote to override Gov. Larry Hogan's veto earlier this week.
Del. Jared Solomon (D-Montgomery) said the House's 98-30 vote Monday to override Hogan's veto of the bill last year will also pass the Senate when it votes, likely on Friday.
The bill would require the Maryland Transit Administration to negotiate on agreements to extend the system's service onto the Virginia Railway Express system, as well as from Perryville, Maryland to Newark, Delaware.
The MTA has been discussing the possibility of expanding into Virginia for several years.
The service into Virginia through Washington, D.C.'s Union Station would probably initially start on MARC's Brunswick line, which runs from West Virginia into Montgomery County and Washington, with stations in Brunswick and Point of Rocks, Solomon said.
But the hope is to eventually offer the service on the system's Penn and Camden lines.
When he submitted it last session, Solomon hoped the bill would make expanding the service more of a priority for the state's Department of Transportation and let Virginia know that's it's a priority for Maryland.
And connecting with VRE significantly reduces travel time for people who work in Virginia, without having to change trains or take a bus, he said.
Solomon said he has also gotten several emails from people who live in northern Virginia and work in Baltimore.
Although no one knows what commuting will look like after the pandemic, he's confident riders will return to using the MARC service.
The system's ridership is down about 90 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels, MTA spokeswoman Brittany Marshall said in an email Wednesday.
Even if more people telecommute at least part of the time, they're still going to have to go into their offices to some extent, Solomon said.