Reversible toll lanes on 270? Maybe

ROCKVILLE, Md. — With a new governor viewed as road-friendly in Annapolis, one Montgomery County lawmaker hopes toll lanes on Interstate 270 are a possibility.

County Councilmember Roger Berliner supports converting the two High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on I-270 into reversible toll lanes.

“We backed a plan six years ago with two reversible lanes. People in carpools or transit vehicles ride free; everyone else would have to pay a toll,” says Berliner.

The concept would be similar to the new 95 Express Lanes in Virginia between Stafford County and Alexandria. Similar to Virginia, any project in Maryland would likely require a public-private partnership.

It also would mean either concrete barriers or plastic bollards to prevent people from weaving in and out of the lanes. That is a common problem today on the interstate’s HOV lanes.

When Gov. Larry Hogan named Peter Rahn as transportation secretary, he called Rahn the greatest highway builder in the country.

And although there are more pressing issues, such as the Purple Line, fixing traffic on I-270 could be a high priority for Rahn.

“While MDOT (Maryland Department of Transportation) is not currently looking at HOT Lanes on I-270, Acting Secretary Pete Rahn has a strong history of making the most out of limited budgets with creative approaches that maximize the potential of federal, local and private sector partnerships. He intends to continue this tradition in Maryland,” writes Rahn spokeswoman Erin Henson.

Such a project could take a decade or more from start to finish, but is one that could interest Rahn as a highway builder.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett told WTOP in November that he supports toll lanes on I-270, as long as everyone has access to them.

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