When will Maryland officials vote on a plan to widen the Beltway?

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan had hoped for a Wednesday vote by the three-member Board of Public Works on his plan to widen the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270, but after Comptroller Peter Franchot asked for a delay, the plan was withdrawn for consideration until the board’s next meeting on Dec. 18.

But the amended plan to speed up the process for bids and purchase private property along the routes before getting the required federal environmental approvals isn’t on the agenda for the Dec. 18 meeting.

Franchot had indicated he’d like a delay of as much as four or more weeks to get his questions about the project answered, saying that there was no rush to get the matter before the board.

Asked why the proposal for the private-public partnership does not appear on the Dec. 18 meeting agenda, Hogan’s communications director Michael Ricci said in an email, “We continue to work to address the comptroller’s questions.”

As to whether the item could be added to the Dec. 18 meeting agenda, Ricci said, “Anything can happen.”

On Thursday afternoon, members of Maryland’s Congressional delegation pressed transportation officials, including Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn, for more details about the plans, which had been amended since they were first presented to the Board of Public Works in June.

Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Maryland) had some sharp criticism for the proposal, issuing a statement that said, “Governor Hogan is pushing forward with his Beltway expansion project without transparency, community support or a comprehensive vision for what Maryland’s transportation network will look like in the 21st century.”

Ricci fired back, accusing Brown of “embracing the dysfunction in Washington,” and adding that Hogan had made record investments in transit “including the Purple Line — and is advancing a once-in-a-generation agreement with Virginia to fix the entire Capital Beltway.”

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