Maryland, Montgomery County leaders lack consensus on how to ease I-270 congestion

Since the D.C. region’s Transportation Planning Board rejected a Maryland plan for Interstate 270, Montgomery County wants its idea revisited.

Disagreements among elected leaders aren’t unusual.

“We would be in an agreement and able to do something, if the state would accept the idea that we’d do reversible lanes,” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said at a Thursday media briefing.

He said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan “seems more focused on doing a P3 (public-private partnership) deal rather than on solving the traffic problem.”

A Maryland Department of Transportation spokeswoman told WTOP in an email that the state has been flexible in accommodating county requests.

“Both Montgomery County Executive Elrich and County Council member Tom Hucker, Chair of Montgomery County Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee, asked us to revise our plan to deliver the American Legion Bridge and I-270 to Frederick first with managed lanes up I-270 to I-370 and … We did,” Erin Henson said.

Henson also said it’s important to point out that the current Phase 1: American Legion Bridge I-270 Traffic Relief Project delivers exactly what Montgomery County asked the Maryland Department of Transportation for in 2019.

A letter to Maryland Transportation Secretary Gregory Slater from November 2020 details county issues with Maryland’s plan.

Elrich said creating two reversible toll lanes on I-270 would be a less expensive project than state plans to widen the path to build managed lanes.

“If you’re doing tolls, the toll rates on our residents, as well as people passing through the region, would be lower so there’s a lot to gain for everybody from this,” he said.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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