State Officials Hear from County on Transportation Projects (Video)

Despite criticism about the plan, state transportation leaders asked local officials Thursday night to wait and see what companies propose for the $9 billion plan from Gov. Larry Hogan to add lanes to I-270 and I-495.

The road widening on the two highways would be “P3s” — public-private partnerships — where companies would compete to finance, plan, design, build, operate and maintain the projects, paid for through new tolls without needing state dollars.

Maryland’s Department of Transportation has released the first documents needed to launch the projects.

The highway plan was part of the discussion Thursday night as Maryland transportation officials brought its county-by-county tour to present transportation projects planned across the state. The state has 846 projects, valued at about $9 billion, at Maryland airports, and on state highways and transit systems. The figure also includes bicycle and port projects.

“Bottom line, we seek to be your partner in this effort, across the board — too important for it to be anything else,” County Council President Roger Berliner said.

Berliner, and other Montgomery County Council members, have criticized the Hogan highway plan, saying that I-270 could be better served with reversible lanes instead of two permanent lanes in either direction. They also expressed doubt that the parts of the Capital Beltway lack sufficient room to add extra lanes.

Deputy Secretary Jim Ports, who led the meeting, described technology, used in Texas, where lanes can be put on top of each other.

Despite the criticism, Councilmember Nancy Floreen called the Hogan plan “terrific” in her testimony at the meeting, held in the Council Office Building in Rockville.

“If we’re going to think big, I urge that we should think as creatively and as differently as we can for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Floreen said.

She suggested the Corridor Cities Transitway proposal be included in the I-270 P3, which would mean it could be eligible for federal funding, she said.

Del. Aruna Miller, a Darnestown Democrat who represents District 15, said the I-270 plan deserved more citizen input before the governor’s announcement of the plan on Sept. 21.

“If you want to give the best product to the citizens of Maryland, you need to hear from the citizens of Maryland,” Miller said.

She and others quizzed the officials on how much the tolls would be, published reports have said they could be as high as $40.

“Don’t get yourself all worked up about tolls because we don’t know what the cost will be,” Ports said.

Based on comments from the meetings, the transportation department formalizes its budget proposal to present to the General Assembly in January.

Montgomery County projects include:

  • The $120 million Watkins Mill Road interchange on I-270;
  • The $112 million in “innovative congestion management” tools on I-270;
  • A $43 million bypass around Brookeville to ease traffic congestion; and
  • A $13 million bridge over Sligo Creek on Sligo Creek Parkway;

 

 

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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at dtallman@mymcmedia.org or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug

Comments

One Response to “State Officials Hear from County on Transportation Projects (Video)”

  1. On November 3, 2017 at 9:58 am responded with... #

    We have seen tolls get this high already in VA and it’s perfectly reasonable to assume they would get that high on 270 and on MD 495. Deputy Secretary Ports is insulting to Maryland citizens by suggesting that residents are irrationally emotional (o” rverly worked up”) by expressing their concerns.




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