Public to weigh in on latest Capital Beltway, I-270 toll project

Plans to add toll lanes to stretches of the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 were met with opposition and support, as county leaders discussed what the latest projections for Maryland’s updated draft environmental impact statement would mean for the economy and environment.

Following the decision not to move forward with toll lanes from I-270 into Prince George’s County, the federal government required the update.



Del. Jared Solomon, a Democrat who represents Montgomery County, pointed out concerns around findings that the state’s updated statement doesn’t project any real change to traffic.

“Toll lanes would only average about 23 mph. It’s significantly less than the 45 mph that was promised,” Solomon said.

The Maryland Department of Transportation said the predicted 23-mph speed is only for the 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. time frame, if no improvements are made to parts of the Capital Beltway and I-270 that are outside of the toll lane project.

Health concerns and environmental impacts were discussed, including what the project would mean for 17 acres of National Park Service property.

Kyle Hart, Mid-Atlantic field representative of the National Parks Conservation Association, pointed out that a total of 1,200 trees would need to be cleared for construction, calling it an unacceptable degree of impact.

There was also an outpouring of support for the project, stressing the need for a solution to traffic congestion.

Jason Stanford, president of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, supported the latest plan, pointing to job creation and free lanes.

“It allows HOV-3 and transit vehicles to use the lanes for free, creating an opportunity for congestion-free regional express service,” Stanford said.

Public comment will be accepted now through Nov. 15.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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