EPTA Director: MARC funding issue is “bigger than just the commuters”

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Time may be running out as efforts to resolve a MARC funding shortfall continue.

On Saturday, an overflow crowd met at a public hearing in downtown Charles Town to speak in two-minute shifts about the train service and how it could be funded.

Among those in attendance was Eastern Panhandle Transit Authority Director Elaine Bartoldson.

“There are school kids that take MARC down to DC and come home; there are field trips. there are dance groups; there are every day riders,” Bartoldson said. “It’s bigger than just the commuters going to work. It’s about a mode of transportation that is important to the Eastern Panhandle.”

The Maryland Transit Administration has requested 3.2 million dollars from West Virginia to keep the trains running, but less than half of that has been allocated by the legislature.

The MTA has said the funding shortfall will mean changes to the service come November, including fewer trains and diminished services at Martinsburg’s Caperton Station.

If riders are routed to out of state stations, EPTA’s budget could be stretched as riders seek alternatives.

Story by Marsha Chwalik/Panhandle News Network