Thursday, June 12, 2008

Get Ready To Share The Road And Rails

Is a reverse commute in Howard's future? The Examiner reports that a recent survey by the Defense Information Systems Agency, which is moving to Fort Meade from Arlington in 2010, showed that many of its 5,000 employees plan to commute to the area from Virginia.

Officials have long conceded that the major highways around Fort Meade — Routes 295, 175 and 198 — will not widened by August 2011, which is when DISA expects to have all of its offices at Fort Meade.

A likely choice for DISA commuters is the MARC train system’s Penn Line, which connects Washington, D.C.’s Union Station, Fort Meade and Harford’s Aberdeen Proving Ground, another military installation with planned expansion because of the Base Realignment and Closure process.

Maryland officials plan to add 15,400 seats to the Penn Line by 2015, but its biggest expansion, with 16,000 more seats and a Northern Virginia expansion at an estimated cost of $1.3 billion, is slated for 2020.

The MARC system now is operating over its 27,000 daily trip capacity, officials said.

To improve transit options, officials are considering connecting MARC and its southern counterpart, Virginia Railway Express, and creating a Smart Card that combines charges for MARC, VRE and the D.C. Metro services.

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