The March 20 Metro article “Bill passes to expand MARC in D.C. and into Va.” highlighted how the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill in the waning moments of its shortened session that would study expanding MARC service into Northern Virginia. Our organization supported this bill, and we have a track record of supporting other MARC improvements, including playing a critical role in advocating weekend and evening service.

We’re happy to see that the General Assembly is interested in studying MARC expansion but feel compelled to point out a vital piece of legislation that apparently wasn’t considered important enough to make the cut: the Transit Safety and Investment Act.

This bill would have required the state to properly fund the Maryland Transit Administration so that it could make much-needed repairs and address a growing backlog of deferred maintenance across all its modes, including MARC and Baltimore’s rail and bus systems. The rail systems operated by MTA (MARC, Light RailLink and Metro SubwayLink) break down more often than any other comparable rail systems in the country. And a capital needs inventory MTA published last year found that the state was underfunding basic transit maintenance by $2 billion over the next 10 years.

Our existing infrastructure is being neglected, and we won’t be able to build for the future on a crumbling foundation. Maryland needs to adequately fund and maintain the transportation system it has before it undertakes expansion.

Eric Norton, Baltimore

The writer is director of policy and programs for the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance.