On September 21, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan revealed a $9 billion plan to add four lanes to I-270, I-495, and the B-W Parkway. Widening the Capital Beltway is a terrible idea for the following reasons:
- This project could displace hundreds or even thousands of properties. The image above shows the potential impact on a 2,000-foot stretch in Forest Glen. Imagine the impact on all 50 miles of I-495 in Maryland!
- Road widening projects will not alleviate congestion on I-495 in the long-run. Experience has proven that increasing the number of lanes on I-270 and I-495 encourages more people to drive and more miles will be driven to fill that road space.
- Expanding the capacity of I-495 and I-270 will result in more traffic on local and arterial roads. It will encourage more people to travel through already-congested areas like Bethesda, Kensington, Chevy Chase, Forest Glen, Four Corners, and Silver Spring.
- This idea has already been studied before, and the results were unfavorable. In 2012, USDOT, National Park Service, and MDOT determined that widening the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to six lanes “will likely result in levels of traffic congestion similar to those experienced today.” The Maryland State Highway Administration also explored widening of I-495 in 2004 and did not recommend adding four express toll lanes to the Capital Beltway because "Construction costs would be prohibitively high".
- In order to pay for this $9 billion project, the toll rates would have to be exorbitantly expensive, meaning that the people that would most benefit from this project are the wealthy people that can afford the tolls.
- Hogan did not seek the input or advice of Montgomery and Prince George's County residents or government.