DC Area Authorities Reconsider Beltway Express Lanes

After nixing the idea, officials are again considering constructing express lanes on portions of the beltway following a lobbying push by Maryland’s governor.

Source : Flickr

July 22, 2021

Author : Alex Bustillos

Washington DC’s regional planning board decided on Wednesday to reexamine the construction of two tolled express lanes along a part of I-270.

In mid-May, Contractor News reported that the Maryland Department of Transportation scaled back their plans on Beltway area improvements. Then in June, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Transportation Planning Board voted to remove the project from an air quality study that was required for it to get federal approval. The decision on Wednesday restores all this.

As Engineering News-Record reports, some residents in the area have opposed the project on environmental grounds while others have criticized the use of funds on highway expansion projects instead of mass transit alternatives.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R), has pushed hard for the new lanes over the past months, arguing that canning the project would result in a loss of $6 billion in express lane toll revenue, further decreasing the amount of available funds for other transportation projects. Earlier this month, Maryland’s Department of Transportation identified a number of projects totaling $3 billion that would be either delayed or scrapped altogether.

A few days prior to the decision on Wednesday to add the express lanes to the list of long-term transportation projects, Maryland authorities said they would include dedicated bus lanes to the project but did not say how it would be paid for. However, the re-vote in favor of taking up the project again reportedly passed with a “comfortable margin.”

Governor Hogan celebrated the re-vote as a “great victory for Marylanders sick and tired of being stuck in soul-crushing traffic.”

Photo via Flickr

Category : Department of Transportation Investment in Infrastructure Local Government Freeways and Highways Public Works

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