ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WDVM) — The Maryland Board of Public works voted 2 to 1 to advance Governor Hogan’s proposed toll lane project.
Hogan and Comptroller Franchot voted for the project, while Treasurer Nancy Kopp voted against it. Hogan says this traffic relief plan is a win for families, commuters, and small businesses but opponents of this project say it has been fundamentally flawed from its inception.
“This project will finally begin to solve the soul-crushing worst-in-the-nation traffic that people have failed to address for 50 years,” said Hogan.
Opponents such as Jane Lyons, Maryland Advocacy Manager for the Coalition for Smarter Growth, say it will not solve congestion and prioritizes the interests of the privatized multi-billion highway industry over the well-being of the community.
“We have to rethink the way that we use our land in the region to build more efficiently to build closer to transit and jobs and other destinations,” said Lyons.
The Maryland Sierra Club says it’s especially unconscionable to green light this massive highway expansion the same week that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called a code red. Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and other local leaders have also been vocal about their opposition to the expansion and its use of taxpayer dollars.
“Given that Congress is passing a record infrastructure bill… why he wouldn’t take a bridge which connects to interstate highways…why he wouldn’t bring that project forward to the federal government as a candidate for funding,” said Elrich.
This is just phase 1 of the project not including design work or construction which will take more approvals from the board. MDOT plans to bring a multi-billion dollar construction contract to the board sometime next year.