Governor O'Malley Unveils New "Green" Locomotives for MARC Commuter Rail Fleet

O'Malley dubs locomotive the Senator Barb "Go Green" Express; Additional Double Decker Passenger Cars Also Entering Service


governor riding on MARC trainBALTIMORE, MD (May 6, 2009) - Governor Martin O’Malley took a ride on the first of 26 new “green” locomotives that will soon enter service with Maryland’s MARC commuter rail system, dubbing the locomotive the Senator Barb "Go Green" Express for Senator Barbara Mikulski and her tireless work on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development directing federal funding for green projects like this.  The new locomotives reduce both emissions and fuel consumption compared to the 1970’s era locomotives that they will replace.  Today's announcement comes just one day prior to the signage of critical Smart, Green and Growing legislation introduced this year by the O'Malley-Brown Administration.  Since taking office, the O’Malley Brown Administration has invested $160 million in MARC improvement projects for new locomotives, passenger cars, parking expansions, station improvements and track improvements.

“This project shows that even a piece of equipment this large and this powerful can be environmentally friendly and fuel efficient,” said Governor O’Malley.  “This new fleet of 'green' locomotives will reduce our impact on the environment while at the same time improve the reliability of our MARC service for the 32,000 riders a day that use the system.  I want to thank Senator Barbara Mikulski and the entire Maryland Congressional Delegation for their work securing the funding for such a vital project to our transportation infrastructure and our environmental future.”

The new locomotives will reduce emissions of nitrous oxide by 42%, carbon monoxide by 70% and particulates, like soot, by 67%.  The locomotives will provide additional power over the current fleet of older diesels and the new equipment will be more reliable.  They also come equipped with an electronic fuel injection system making them more fuel-efficient.

Governor O’Malley announced that the first locomotive will be named after Senator Barbara A. Mikulski in honor of her long-time support of the MARC system and her tireless efforts in Washington working on behalf of all Maryland citizens.

governor on Senator Mikulski's MARC train“Many thanks to Governor O’Malley for this terrific honor. MARC trains keep Marylanders on the move – on time, on track and chugging along,” said Senator Mikulski, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development who put funds in the federal checkbook for MARC in Maryland. “I’ve got a lot in common with Maryland’s new green locomotives. The Senator Barb ‘Go-Green’ Express will put 3,600 green horsepower on the track for Maryland every day. It’s got plenty of horsepower and so do I.”

In addition to the new locomotives, 13 double-deck MARC passenger cars are also entering service this spring.  The additional cars hold 135 passengers and will join the 50 MARC double deck cars already in service, adding capacity and reduce overcrowding.  With the approval by Governor O’Malley and the Board of Public works last year, the 13 cars were purchased from Virginia’s commuter rail system as that system transitions to different equipment.  Purchasing the cars rather than procuring them from scratch allowed MARC to add capacity in months rather than wait years for new cars to be manufactured.

The 26 locomotives were purchased for $100 million.  The first is expected to enter daily MARC service later this month.  The 13 double-deck passenger cars were purchased for $22 million.  All will be in service by later this spring.

Maryland's Congressional delegation, instrumental in securing federal funding for infrastructure projects like this one, expressed their support for the project:

“The MARC commuter rail provides a critical transportation service for Maryland commuters and I am pleased that the federal-state partnership has made it possible for the purchase of new locomotives and cars,” said Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.  “MARC usage has increased dramatically in the past year and this new equipment will help improve service for commuters while also reducing pollutants that degrade our air quality.”

“The 26 green trains being introduced into the MARC system today are yet another example of Maryland’s unwavering commitment to improving our environment,” said Congressman Van Hollen.  “These federal-state partnerships will not only help the State improve air quality, but these new trains will improve service for the many commuters who use the MARC service.”

governor in MARC train“These new ‘green’ locomotive cars are a great investment in our future, allowing the MARC fleet to perform more efficiently and reliably, while also being kinder to our environment,” said Congressman Cummings, a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “MARC provides a critical service to our community, covering 187 miles and moving an average of 30,000 passengers daily, and these improvements to the system will help the system better meet the demands and expectations of the commuters who rely on it.”

“Thousands of Marylanders depend on MARC for a safe, reliable, green way to get to and from work.  These new locomotives and rail cars will mean even more Marylanders can ‘Come All Aboard’ in a more environmentally friendly way with trains that give off fewer emissions.  This is even more important with the nearly 30,000 jobs coming to Maryland through the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decision,” said Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), a Member of the Appropriations Committee. 

“MARC is the backbone of our transit system in Maryland,” said Congressman Sarbanes.  “I was pleased to fight for the federal funds to purchase this equipment and we must continue to look for ways to bolster MARC’s capacity and improve customer service.”

“The purchase of 26 ‘green’ MARC locomotives and 13 double-deck MARC passenger coaches are the latest example of Maryland leading the country when it comes to investing in public transportation,” said Rep. Edwards.  “This investment is an excellent use of federal Recovery funding, which helped Maryland purchase locomotives that are more powerful, fuel efficient, reliable and environmentally-friendly.  I look forward to continue working with my colleagues in the Maryland Congressional delegation and Governor Martin O’Malley to invest in our public transportation.”

“Greener and more efficient MARC trains will encourage commuters to get out of their cars and start using the types of mass transportation that clear up congestion on the roads and protect our environment,” said Congressman Frank Kratovil, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee.  “Our State and Federal government are committed to working together to back initiatives such as these that move us closer to a green infrastructure; preserving the environment and hopefully making all our lives a little easier.”

“Thousands of commuters use the MARC Brunswick line every day.  The transition from diesel to ‘green’ locomotives with even better fuel economy and lower emissions is great, good news," said Congressman Bartlett. "We will ensure future economic growth, protect our national security, and improve our environment if we take more steps like this. It’s imperative to reduce our country’s 96% dependence upon petroleum for transportation with greater efficiency and alternative, domestic, renewable sources of energy.”  

Tomorrow, Governor O'Malley will sign into law an ambitious "Smart, Green, and Growing" legislation package introduced by the O'Malley-Brown Administration and passed by the General Assembly this year.  Included in the legislation are measures to make Maryland a national leader in taking decisive actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 and creating 100,000 green jobs Statewide.   In addition, Governor O'Malley will enact Smart, Green, and Growing legislation calling for a sustainable approach to development in Maryland that promotes transit-oriented development, reliable local planning choices, and a clear understanding of the impact of development on our natural environment.

The MARC improvements announced today reflect the goals of Governor O’Malley’s Smart, Green and Growing initiative.  Introduced in October 2008, Maryland’s Smart, Green & Growing initiative was created to strengthen the state’s leadership role in fostering smarter, more sustainable growth and inspire action among all Marylanders to achieve a more sustainable future. The Initiative brings together state agencies, local governments, businesses and citizens to create more livable communities, improve transportation options, reduce the state’s carbon footprint, support resource based industry, invest in green technologies, preserve valuable resource lands and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

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