When Maryland Governor Larry Hogan dropped his $9 billion proposal to expand more than 100 miles of highway in Maryland, it took many by surprise, and for some, not in a good way.
“We had no heads up [and] no communication whatsoever,” Montgomery County Council, President, Roger Berliner said. “Congestion relief is one of our county’s highest priorities. There’s no debating that, but how you do it does matter.”
Chief of concerns is that adding more pavement will just add more cars to the road.
“What you need to do is give people a good way to get places without driving,” said Ben Ross, Chair, Maryland Transit Opportunity Coalition.
Berliner is worried about his constituents and local businesses that may get caught in the crossfire of project construction.
“I can’t imagine that, at the end of the day, this is actually what happens,” Berliner said. “I can’t imagine that, at the end of the day, they’re going to take scores of homes, knock down hospitals [and] go over Rock Creek Parkway.”
But at last week’s press conference, Gov. Hogan said any additional right-of-ways required will be minimal.
“At this point, I don’t know,” Gov. Hogan said. “We haven’t got the designs, but we should have enough to accommodate in each direction without.”
With two of the three highways in Gov. Hogan’s proposal running through Montgomery County, Berliner hopes moving forward, county officials are consulted on the project.
Berliner said two reversible lanes are the solution to Interstate-270’s congestion; they provide the ability to expand one direction of roadway during peak travel times.
Gov. Hogan said it will take up to a year and a half to even craft more detailed proposals to widen I-270, the Capital Beltway and the BW Parkway.