MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — Local MARC train commuters say they are fearing the worst after hearing the possibility of potential cutbacks to the commuter train service between Washington D.C. and West Virginia.
“It would make my job, my life a whole lot more difficult, a lot more expensive,” said West Virginia MARC Train Commuter David Huber. “I’d have to curtail a lot more expenses in order to do this. The train is a lot cheaper, a lot easier and for anyone who has to go further down south, driving almost isn’t an option, it’s just too far.”
Delegate Jason Barrett said he’s taking on the MARC train controversy and has been meeting locals personally at the Martinsburg station at 4:30 a.m. to get an idea of exactly how many people actually ride the train and why. Other delegates have been visiting Duffields and Harpers Ferry as well.
“More importantly, it’s about talking with riders and hearing their stories and kind of getting the human element to the riders and not just looking on paper to how many riders are there every day,” said Delegate Jason Barrett.
A spokesperson for the Maryland Transit Administration Brittany Marshall said in a statement, for the fiscal year 2020, the West Virginia legislature chose to appropriate $1.1 million to support MARC train service, which will provide two marc trains per day on the Brunswick line into West Virginia. MDOT requested $3. 4 million dollars for services.
“They want us in their bad weather so not having the train is really going to hurt because then I’d have to drive to Brunswick,” said Commuter Kevin Fortune. “For the most part, it would just be a hardship.”
Delegate Barrett said he’s learned more than ever in his early morning meetings with locals, however, there are other aspects that need attention.
“It’s more than just the folks riding the train, there are several jobs on these trains and then obviously purchasing the fuel to operate the train here,” said Barrett.
MDOT officials say people still have a little over two weeks to contact them to discuss any concerns.