WASHINGTON – A light rail line to Glen Burnie and a bus or rail line connecting Silver Spring to Bethesda are among the improvements to public transit being considered for the Baltimore-Washington region.
The light rail line being considered for downtown Glen Burnie would cost between $20 million and $40 million, said Anthony Brown, communications director for the Maryland Mass Transit Administration. The extension – which could run up to two miles – would connect downtown Glen Burnie with Cromwell Station in Anne Arundel County, said MTA spokeswoman Nanci Philips.
“The project is really focused in on improving the quality of life for Glen Burnie residents,” Brown said.
Light rail lines, an alternative to subways, are cheaper to build, traveling above ground and relying on updated technology from street cars, Philips said.
The Glen Burnie extension would have to be approved by the community, the state legislature and the Anne Arundel county executive, Philips said. If it is approved and funded, the MTA expects people could start using it by the year 2000, she said.
Joe Corcoran, president of the Glen Burnie Improvement Association, said of the five alignments being considered, his group supports one that would run down Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie. “It doesn’t interfere with the center of Glen Burnie,” he said.
Two of the proposed alignments would require relocations of part of the Baltimore and Annapolis [hiker-biker] Trail, Philips said.
In the Washington area, the MTA is considering a proposal to construct a light rail line or expand bus service to connect the Silver Spring and Bethesda Metro stations and the two cities’ business districts, said MTA project manager Ernest Baisden.
A new bus route would cost between $101 million and $199 million, Baisden said.
A light rail connection would cost between $197 million and $258 million, which would include installing more than four miles of light rail track, Baisden and Philips said.
Each route would cross Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Baisden said.
If either of the plans and funds are approved, the connection could be running seven to 10 years from now, Philips said.
The Maryland Rail Commuter service plans to expand as well. A proposed extension of the Brunswick line to Frederick should be completed by June 1999, Philips said.
The proposed MARC extension, a spur about 14 miles long, would go from Point of Rocks in Frederick County to Frederick. “There are a lot more people who are moving to the suburbs and who are commuting to the Washington area,” Philips said.
The proposed spur, which would cost about $50 million, would relieve traffic congestion on Interstate 270, she said.
The MTA estimates about 1,600 people would commute on this spur each day, Philips said. The MARC line runs 187 miles and connects Washington to Baltimore and its suburbs, northeastern Maryland, western Maryland and part of West Virginia. -30-