Commuter rail networks outside of densely populated urban areas like the Washington ., New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Montreal, and Toronto metropolitan areas have historically been sparse. Since the 1990s, however, several commuter rail projects have been proposed and built throughout the United States, especially in the Sun Belt and other regions characterized by urban sprawl that have traditionally been underserved by public transportation. Since the late 1990s, commuter rail networks have been inaugurated in Dallas, San Diego, Minneapolis, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Orlando, and Albuquerque, among other cities. Several more commuter rail projects have been proposed and are in the planning stages.
Controversy first arose when the French-owned and Montgomery County, Maryland -based Keolis (already operating Virginia Railway Express trains) was the only bidder for the contract. The bidding process was suspended in the fall of 2010 due to lack of competition. Before bidding reopened in 2011, Maryland passed a law (at the request of Leo Bretholz and other Holocaust survivors) requiring Keolis's majority owner, SNCF (currently solely owned by the French government)  to fully disclose its role in transporting Jews to concentration camps during World War II (while SNCF was under control of the Nazi government), to the satisfaction of the Maryland state archivist, before Keolis would be allowed to place a bid for MARC service. Keolis faced similar issues while bidding for VRE operations in 2009, but in the end, they were allowed to run VRE.
As the program began, the usual opening rush of clips from around the world accompanied by dramatic music played. A breaking news graphic flew up onscreen and then there was silence. The host, Huw Edwards, sat at his desk, patiently awaiting his cue. But the cue was not coming. Instead, the breaking news graphic came up again... and again, and again. B-roll footage from random segments randomly played and all the while we kept seeing Edwards at his desk, deep in thought. Around the two minute mark, the camera slowly zoomed in on Edwards in a moment that felt like a climax. But no, it snapped back to a wide shot and the idle host continued to contemplate the mysteries of the universe.