Stop I-270

High-Cost Toll Lanes Don't Help the Average Commuter

The Maryland Dept. of Transportation wants private companies to build and operate four new toll lanes down the center of I-270. Toll lanes of this kind are known as “Lexus Lanes” because average commuters can't afford to use them regularly. The Virginia Beltway toll lanes, which are the model for the Maryland proposal, charge an average toll of over $1.50 per mile at the peak of rush hour — meaning the round-trip toll from Route 118 in Germantown to the Beltway would be over $41 — and they are still losing money.

For this scheme to work, the state must guarantee that drivers who don't pay the tolls will be stuck in traffic jams. Otherwise, even those commuters who do have $200 a week to spare will have no reason to pay, and Wall Street won't invest.

There's a much better solution for commuters in northern Montgomery County and Frederick County. Run trains all day both ways on the MARC railroad tracks from Frederick and Urbana into Rockville, Silver Spring, and Washington.

If you live near a MARC station on the train line from Washington D.C to Frederick and Brunswick, Maryland, it's already a great way to commute, but only if your schedule fits the MARC schedule. Right now the trains only go one way for a few hours in the morning, and the other way for a few hours in the afternoon. Trains should run seven days a week all day in both directions.

Expanding highways never has and never will reduce traffic and congestion.