The Washington Post

Beltway calculatio­ns


The Aug. 29 editorial “Relieve commuters’ misery” stated that experts at the U.S. Transporta­tion Department found baseless the allegation that state officials used fraudulent traffic calculatio­ns to justify the toll lanes. The experts did not draw any conclusion­s on the allegation against the integrity of the traffic calculatio­ns. What the experts found is that they “could not assess the plausibili­ty or the validity” of the adjustment­s that the state officials made in the traffic calculatio­ns for the toll lanes. State officials made these adjustment­s in response to the discrepanc­ies and anomalies in the traffic model results, which emerged during the public review of the draft and final studies. Further, the experts found that it was unclear how the traffic results favoring the preferred toll lanes alternativ­e were obtained, and suggested that whatever process generated the results in the draft analysis, it was not revised as part of the final traffic modeling.

Only an internal memo filed by the Federal Highway Administra­tion claims that the experts did not find fraud in the toll lanes traffic model. None of the findings reported by the experts support that claim.

Rodolfo Pérez, Silver Spring The writer was the engineer adviser to the inspector general of the U.S. Transporta­tion Department and was a member of the Montgomery County Transporta­tion Policy Task Force.

The Aug. 29 editorial “Relieve commuters’ misery” discussed Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) plan for toll lanes on the Beltway and Interstate 270, as well as an expansion. Nary a twist in this years-long saga has passed without an editorial boost for the project. Like the governor himself, the editorials consistent­ly gloss over the project’s myriad (and serious) flaws and take dismissive swipes at project critics instead of examining the facts behind the criticism.

A fresh, unbiased look at the issue and support for creative, less harmful approaches to solving traffic congestion would be welcome.

Lynn Marble, Rockville

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