Welcome to Citizens Against Beltway Expansion
In a Reversal, TPB Votes to Support I-495/I-270 Project
Today, the Transportation Planning Board voted to put the I-495/I-270 project in its long-range regional plan, reversing a vote in June to exclude it.
The vote today was an exercise in bare-knuckle politics by Governor Hogan and the moneyed interests who back this project. They used misleading ad, threats, bullying and, at the last minute, an effort to buy votes on the cheap. We commend County Executive Marc Elrich for leading our fight against the toll lanes and the effort to keep the project out of the regional plan.
Today is not the end of the story and there are many more steps along the way before this deal is done. Next up is a Board of Public Works meeting to consider the $50 million predevelopment agreement with Transurban to do the design work on the project. Call Comptroller Peter Franchot today and urge him to vote no on the agreement. Call his office at 410-260-7801 and leave a message urging him to vote no
until the Final Environmental Impact Statement is completed. We need to know the facts before the Board of Public Works approves the predevelopment agreement.
The Maryland Department of Transportation is scaling back its plan to add toll lanes to I-495 and I-270. For now, it is dropping plans to expand segments of the Beltway east of Old Georgetown Road. However, MDOT will attempt to move forward with toll lanes on I-495 from the American Legion Bridge to the I-270 spur and up I-270 to Shady Grove Road.
The change by MDOT shows the power of grassroots action. But as noted by Montgomery County Council President Tom Hucker, “You can add lipstick to the pig, but it still doesn’t make it an attractive proposal.” He stated further that, “It’s essentially a 1970s-style highway expansion, at a time when we need a multimodal, 21st-century solution that moves people, not just cars.”
The change by MDOT shows that when we fight, we win. Let’s keep it up!
Shouldn’t we know the environmental, fiscal and social risks of adding toll lanes to I-495/I-270 before the State signs any contract for the project? Yes of course we should. That’s the normal process.
Unfortunately, the General Assembly’s failure to act puts the pressure to protect the public from another P3 blowup squarely on the shoulders of the Board of Public Works.
But MDOT isn’t waiting for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) before asking the Board of Public Works to approve the predevelopment agreement, the design contract for Phase 1 of the project.
Why CABE Opposes the $11 Billion For-Profit Tollways on I-495/I-270
MD is pushing an $11 billion public-private partnership (P3) to expand I-495 and I-270 with up to four for-profit tollways. Tollway companies claim it will end rush hour congestion without costing taxpayers a dime. Here's the truth:
Luxury Lane P3s are designed to monetize bad traffic, not relieve it.
P3's pose high risk to taxpayers (Just look at the Purple Line.)
P3's rely on taxpayer subsidies despite claims there's no net-cost to taxpayers.
$50 tolls on I-270 are ahead per MDOT estimates.
Luxury Lanes are bad for pollution, parks, stormwater runoff.
CABE is pushing back. We're a coalition of civic associations, taxpayers, and other organizations demanding better, affordable commuter options for suburban Maryland.
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