The Washington Post
Let’s vow never to pay tolls on the Beltway and I-270
Regarding the June 6 Metro article “Hogan’s toll plan for Beltway, 270 clears key vote, with changes”:
Maryland has held discussion forums with residents for more than a year to consider a number of proposals to improve traffic on the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 from the Beltway to Interstate 370. It’s now clear that requests for input were strictly perfunctory, as the No. 1 suggestion from people attending these forums — not to widen either of these roads — was never taken seriously.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) voted to move forward with this project and to tackle I-270 before the Beltway. After the vote, Mr. Franchot wasn’t sure whether starting with I-270 meant the entire highway or just the part from the Beltway to I-370. It’s clear there is a rush to judgment.
Maryland doesn’t have the money to widen these roads, hence the need for toll lanes to get contractors to bid on these projects and rely on future tolls for reimbursement. I don’t believe in building roads we can’t afford, because it necessitates the creation of toll lanes to pay for the roads while also helping those with money avoid the traffic the less affluent have to deal with. I suggest fighting this expansion with any means available, starting with a movement to never pay tolls to use these roads.
The answer to our growing traffic problems is not widening these roads. It’s to stop approving the construction of housing on every piece of vacant land available in Montgomery County.