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County Council Seeks More Info on Hogan’s $9B Highway Plan

The Montgomery County Council is looking to get more details on Governor Larry Hogan’s $9 billion plan to widen the entire lengths of I-270 and I-495 which was announced last month.

On Thursday, the members of the Montgomery County Council Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy & Environment Committee sent a letter to Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn inviting him to join the Committee to discuss the State’s Traffic Relief Plan and to respond to questions about details of the proposal and the process going forward.

Last month, Gov. Larry Hogan announced a $9 billion Traffic Relief Plan, which will consist of widening I-270 and I-495 in Montgomery County to accommodate four new lanes, in the largest proposed public-private partnership highway project in North America.

The letter from Council President Roger Berliner and Councilmembers Nancy Floreen and Tom Hucker asks Secretary Rahn for details about many facets of the proposal, including whether the State plans to work with Montgomery County in the development of the plan, what assumptions were made regarding the pricing of express toll lanes, whether transit has been or will be considered in the plan, and whether the State has analyzed how widening the highways might impact nearby properties and parkland.

The Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy & Environment Committee members invited Secretary Rahn or a representative to the October 24 Committee session.

“Congestion in our community is one of the biggest detriments to our quality of life,” wrote the members of the Committee. “Accordingly, while we appreciate Governor Hogan’s focus on this top priority issue with the release of the State’s Traffic Relief Plan last month, we need to understand more clearly what the plan will do and will not do.”

In June, the Council and County Executive Isiah Leggett submitted to a Transportation Priorities Letter to the Hogan administration listing what the County believed to be the highest transportation issues in the County. In the letter, the Council and County Executive identified the need to complete the study of two reversible high-occupancy/toll lanes on I-270 between Shady Grove Road and Frederick County as well as one high-occupancy toll lane in each direction on I-495 between the I-270 West Spur and Virginia in order to address traffic congestion.