New: Financial losses & traffic drops on Virginia Beltway toll lanes flash red light for Maryland Lexus Lane plans.



September 5, 2018
In barely 24 hours this week, Governor Larry Hogan made a promise to worried neighbors of the Beltway and I-270 and then took it back.
Neighbors of the two highways are up in arms at the governor's plan to widen them by building four privately owned toll lanes. Some attended Monday's Labor Day parades in Kensington and Gaithersburg, carrying signs. When the governor passed by, he walked over and told them that "Not a single house is ever going to be taken down."
On Tuesday, Mr. Hogan apparently walked this promise back in a flurry of ambiguous rhetoric that left the door open to future house demolitions. He said "the state has no plans" and State Highway Administrator Greg Slater issued a statement about what "our approach is." But the governor then let the cat out of the bag by adding that "No decisions have been made."
"How are we supposed to believe that they 'have no plans' when the governor won't let us see the plans?" asked Ben Ross of the Maryland Transit Opportunities Coalition. "Mr. Hogan should order the immediate release of drawings that the State Highway Administration showed to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission but refused to release to the public."
"We respectfully call on Governor Hogan to affirm his original statement that no homes (and hopefully businesses, hospitals, parks and green spaces) will be taken to make room for privately-owned toll lanes on I-495 and I-270. Given what information his Administration has shared so far, Hogan's confirmation would provide enormous relief to Maryland residents who are terrified about the P3 project’s potential for lasting damage to their homes and communities," said Brad German of Citizens Against Beltway Expansion.
"This whole scheme rests on promises that can't be kept," Ross added. "It can't be built without lots of taxpayer subsidies, the tolls will be sky-high, and people will certainly lose their homes."