June 10, 2019

State Board Alters Construction Plans for I-270 and I-495 After County and Local Leaders Raise Concerns


On Wednesday, June 5, the Maryland Board of Public Works voted 2-1 to move forward with the proposed addition of toll lanes on I-270 and to designate the project as a public-private partnership. The board’s vote to move I-270 to Phase 1 of the project is a significant change that will provide County and regional leaders more time to work with the state to address the impact the project will have on local communities.

The vote came two days after Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich; County Council President Nancy Navarro and Transportation Chair of the Montgomery County Council Tom Hucker hosted a press conference with local and state elected leaders from Montgomery and neighboring counties. The group was there to raise concerns about the State’s $11 billion plan to improve traffic congestion on I-270 and I-495

“Today’s vote at the Board of Public Works was definitely a step in the right direction,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Extending the I-270 portion of the project up to Frederick is critically important to improving the commute on I-270 - this is something all of us agreed with and can be done without a major widening and taking of property.

While this is an important first step, the missing piece is the American Legion bridge, which we all agree should be part of this project and must be part of the solution. As I first said in December, the project should start at the bridge and work its way north up 270. That is doable.

I want to note also that it is possible to address traffic east of 270. Our plan would make it easier for cars coming from Prince Georges County on I-95 to use the Intercounty Connector to get to 270 without having to use the beltway. This solution has two advantages: 1) people get to I-270 faster and 2) it takes traffic off the beltway – according to the state, 20 percent of the traffic on the beltway are vehicles on I-95 using the beltway to get to Virginia. Those vehicles would be able to avoid the beltway and have a far quicker trip.

I want to thank state Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot for their questions and for listening. I also want to thank Montgomery County Council Transportation Chair Tom Hucker and the entire Council, other elected officials from Montgomery County and leaders from Fredrick and Prince George’s Counties. And finally, I want to thank the Governor for his willingness to modify his approach – although there’s still work to be done, I think we’re on the right road to solving our traffic problems; and I look forward to working with him.” 

12 comments:

  1. Still trying to make the "Intercounty Connector" work. That was a total waste of money! They should seize the assets of everyone involved in that corrupt project and use it to widen 270 clear up to Frederick and the County should stop stalling the project.

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    1. Agree 100%. Adding toll lanes is will be just another folly.

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    2. Geez that a great idea. But why don't we first pass legislation that will permit only electric vehicles on these great thoroughfares. Now, with construction going forward for the purple line, should we widen East-West highway? Guess you're an advocate for the automobile industry?

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    3. Dear Original Anonymous: I totally DISAGREE with you on Rte. 200 - The ICC. It has been tremendous asset to me and has saved me hours and hours of sitting on the Beltway. I don't think they are still "trying to make it work". It works JUST FINE.

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  2. CO2 levels are at 415 PPM. Enabling and encouraging private vehicle commuting, as will the I270 plans, is not environmentally appropriate. Private commuting should be discouraged by allowing it to continue to be inconvenient, along with a great improvement in transit that will make its use more attractive than solo driving.

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    1. It is just not CO2 but other dangerous pollutants, like NOx, PM25 that pose more immediate danger to our health.

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  3. Why do we continue to widen/add highways when each time it is done, more road development is followed with the same old return to gridlock a few years later. More cars, more pollution, more land being paved over. The solution for transportation, environmental protection, quality of life is MASS TRANSIT which will help relieve many of our problems. The poor earth can't take more cars, more pollution. Let's put our money into a better solution. Metro Washington's perennial road building over the 30 plus years I've been here only perpetuates the problem.

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    1. Couldn't agree more. Building more roads to ease congestion is a fools errand.

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  4. Why is our solution to traffic always widening or building more roads? Each time we take this approach, more development follows,more driving (instead of alternative modes) is encouraged and we end up a few years later with a return to gridlock which then results in more calls for road building or widening. Pollution, traffic, environmental stress on the planet suggest that we ought to turn to a better approach: MASS TRANSIT. The poor earth can't take any more of our perennial solution of build, build and pave pave. Let's do the right thing and try to save our planet, our metro area and our frayed nerves on the highway. In the 30 plus years I've lived here, every highway widening only perpetuates the problem we seek to solve. Let's invest in mass transit!

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  5. I see 3 categories for rating this article: (1)thumbs up (2)interesting (3)important

    Well it seems obvious that this subject is interesting and important to anyone in the effected area. So, why is the County Executive is only interested in only giving opportunities for praise? (a thumbs up) Where is the category for Thumbs Down?

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  6. Plenty of public funds are available to create a money making opportunity for private business (whose return on investment in toll lanes requires that toll-free lanes remain congested), but funds are not available for investment in mass transit of any kind. Go figure.
    The Governor still hasn't caught onto the concept of "move people, not cars."

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