West Virginia lawmakers call on local governments to help fund MARC train service

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MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — The Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) train is a commuter rail system that operates in D.C., Baltimore and in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle; however, communities in the latter could lose access to the train system.

“So what MARC told West Virginia what might happen is that they might cut two of the three train services daily, into Martinsburg, Duffields and Harpers Ferry,” said West Virginia Del. Jason Barrett.

Barrett says Maryland is charging the Mountain State $3.4 million; however, West Virginia only funded $1 million in the state’s budget.

According to Barrett, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice allocated an additional $2 million, but the rest will need to be covered by local municipalities.

“I feel that when you take the MARC train away, you are absolutely taking West Virginia’s opportunity away,” said Justice.

But gubernatorial candidate Woody Thrasher says issues of funding the MARC service was a problem identified years ago.

“And unfortunately it’s just a few weeks ago that the governor begins to say, ‘okay I realize there’s something and I promise you I’m gonna come do something.’ but that’s not how you run a ship,” said Thrasher.

Now West Virginia Senator John Unger says the communities that rely on the MARC service needs to start focusing on the long-term.

“What needs to happen at this point is to look at the long-term of this,” said Unger. “How do we build a long-term strategy so we don’t have the same situation?”

But until then, Barrett says local governments have until November 20, 2019 to decide whether or not they will pay for the service.

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