Federal, state, county, and local officials gathered in Germantown to demand action to improve traffic on I-270, saying that traffic congestion hinders economic development and makes travel unreliable through the corridor.
Officials gathered to announce the launch of the Fix I-270 Now Coalition, a bipartisan initiative featuring federal, state and local officials and local business leaders to widen and improve traffic conditions on I-270.
“The terrible traffic conditions on I-270 are a daily dilemma and a nightly nightmare for Marylanders,” said Congressman Delaney during the press event at 12410 Milestone Center Drive. “The gridlock and endless congestion on I-270 is one of the biggest problems facing Maryland, severely impacting the quality of life and economic competitiveness of one of our most critical job-creating regions.”
As Delaney and others spoke, the rush hour traffic crawling along I-270 southbound acted as a backdrop demonstrating the main issue with one of the most heavily congested highways in the nation. “I’m proud to Chair the Fix I-270 Now Coalition because we can’t wait any longer and we can’t accept minor fixes, we need big transformative improvements to I-270. Fixing I-270 will require all of us working together – federal, state, local governments, as well as the business community – and that’s why this coalition is so important.”
The primary focus of the coalition will be to advocate for federal, state and local officials to re-start two major project studies that cover the entire I-270 corridor, both of which have been on hold for years: The “I-270/US 15 Multimodal Corridor Study” (from I-370 north) and the “West Side Mobility Study” (from I-370 south to the western sections of I-495 and the American Legion Bridge).
The Fix I-270 Now Coalition is calling for both studies to resume and include a multimodal option that provides new express lanes (like Virginia’s) and high-quality Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) using the new dedicated lanes to connect the corridor and the region.
“In 22 years, Maryland officials have studied almost every conceivable option, but nothing has gone to construction. In the meantime, Virginia officials have invested billions, adding new capacity to I-66, their portion of the Capital Beltway, and I-95 – and delivering dramatic reductions in travel delays and congestion. Now it’s time to get Maryland moving too,” according to a fact sheet distributed by the coalition.
In July, Gov. Larry Hogan announced $100 million in funding for the new I-270 Innovative Congestion Management project will reduce congestion and delays along the corridor in Montgomery and Frederick counties.
The Coalition includes U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Delegate Aruna Miller, from both Montgomery and Frederick counties, as well as the Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance, the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce, the Clarksburg Chamber of Commerce, the Clarksburg Civic Association, the Montgomery County Civic Association, and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.
The 35-mile, I-270 corridor carries from 79,400 vehicles a day on the north end of I-270 to 261,200 vehicles a day near the Capital Beltway. By the year 2035, these volumes will increase to 107,000 to 290,000 vehicles a day.
File Photo by Germantown Pulse and courtesy Montgomery County Traffic Camera.