Contact: Maryland Department of Transportation Public Affairs
David Broughton, 410-865-1029; Jim Joyner, 410-865-1030 

​MDOT, MEDCO Partnering to Launch Studies to Create Vibrant Community Centers at Stations Along MARC Penn Line and Baltimore-area Light Rail, Subway 

HANOVER, MD (August 16, 2023) – Answering Governor Wes Moore's call to make transit a catalyst to lift neighborhoods, boost the economy, create jobs and connect residents with opportunity, the Maryland Department of Transportation is launching a bold new approach to unify public and private interests and spark inclusive growth at transit hubs. The department is launching this new focus in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, with studies planned along the MARC Penn Line and around light rail and subway stations in the Baltimore region.

“We have a unique opportunity to enliven our neighborhoods, bring residents and visitors together and celebrate the people and places that make Maryland special," said Governor Moore. “With equitable, sustainable and accessible transit as the centerpiece, we can respect and preserve the things we love about our neighborhoods, and rejuvenate them as vibrant economic centers of community life."

The department's new approach to transit-oriented development varies from past, when Requests for Proposals for joint development were issued based on immediate market needs. Instead, the Maryland Department of Transportation will take a proactive, leadership role before development partners are solicited. This approach will enable the state to develop a feasible strategy based on the type of transit service, partnerships with local jurisdictions, and the public investment needed to make transit-oriented development in Maryland as impactful as it can be. 

The goal is to help shape a long-term vision for transit station sites as community focal points that:

  • support local economic development goals;
  • support housing and job creation;
  • grow transit ridership by increasing mobility options and improving connections;
  • increase revenue; and
  • advance the state's climate change goals.

Residents, businesses, community institutions, government agencies and others will collaborate to determine the right mix of transit, retail, office, jobs, housing, essential services, walking and biking features and recreational space at specific sites – then focus the strength of all stakeholders and all levels of government to make that vision a reality.

“Transit centers combining rail, bus, bike, pedestrian and vehicle access have tremendous power to bring people together, drive inclusive economic growth and enliven our communities," said Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld. “If we work together as residents, officials, community advocates and business leaders, we can create unique town centers and main streets that interact with one another, yet offer opportunities that are special to each neighborhood."

First steps are underway. The Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Economic Development Corporation are announcing two Requests for Proposals calling on the development and planning community to study new development at stations along the MARC Penn Line in the Baltimore-Washington corridor and to look for innovative ideas to support investment around light rail and subway stations in the Baltimore region. Responses to the Requests for Proposals are due before the end of summer.

Penn Line Study: MARC Stations in Baltimore-Washington Corridor

One of the Requests for Proposals will launch a study of station sites along the MARC Penn Line, examining factors such as market potential, infrastructure, investment needs, benefits and financing – all important considerations for transit-oriented development. The study's first phase will look at MARC stations spanning the Baltimore-Washington corridor: Seabrook, Bowie State, Odenton, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Halethorpe and West Baltimore.

Penn Line stations are the busiest in the MARC system, representing great potential to create focal points for community growth and activity. There are about 50 acres of state-owned land adjacent to MARC stations along this line. However, the study also will consider the idea that some publicly owned lands might also join development or redevelopment plans.

A second phase of the Penn Line study will engage a similar review of MARC stations north of Baltimore, including Martin State Airport, Edgewood, Aberdeen and Perryville. Both phases will take into consideration increased MARC service. Cross-state service into Delaware and Virginia is anticipated based on Maryland's recent framework agreements with both states to advance discussions and explore pilot service opportunities.

Baltimore Region: Light Rail and Metro Subway Study

The second request for proposals is for a study to look to incentivize investment in transit-oriented development around MTA's light rail and Metro subway stations in the Baltimore region. The study also will help determine subway or light rail stations that have strong market potential for transit-oriented development providing the greatest value for the state and local communities. The goal is to identify three sites with potential for action within a five-year period.

Key goals for Baltimore light rail and subway study include developing a clear picture of market conditions, challenges and opportunities; identifying programs or tools to incentivize transit-oriented development; and engaging with potential private, institutional or nonprofit partners to understand how best to support transit-oriented development in the Baltimore region. The study plan calls for a public forum to engage the development community in how to deliver these opportunities.

Engaging in the Moore-Miller Administration approach, the Maryland Department of Transportation is committed to make collaboration a key element of both studies, working with fellow state agencies, local government, communities and public and private-sector partners on aspects from land-use and mobility to public amenities and job opportunities. The Maryland Economic Development Corporation is an important partner in that process. In the past, the agency has provided key support in construction, bonding and financing for public improvement projects needed for transit-oriented development.

The official requests for proposals for both studies are available for review here. Responses from the development and planning communities to conduct the studies are due by August 31 for the Penn Line, and September 6 for Baltimore region light rail and subway lines.

MDOT and MEDCO will review the proposals and a contract for the studies could be awarded this fall. Following completion of the studies, MDOT will engage with local leaders and residents in the study areas to share results and gather feedback.

For more information, contact Katie Parks at MEDCO,