Maryland transportation officials are pushing a plan to widen I-270 by having a private, for-profit company build and operate two new toll lanes in each direction. This plan won't work without sky-high tolls -- upwards of $40 dollars during rush hour.
The company would build new lanes between the Beltway and Shady Grove first. Then, if those lanes made enough money, new toll lanes between Shady Grove and Frederick would also get built.
Under this plan, I-270 would back up even more at the merge points north of Shady Grove. South of Shady Grove, there would still be back-ups in the free lanes, because otherwise, nobody would choose to pay these high tolls.
There is a much better answer: Rail Transit. Frederick County now has very limited train service on weekdays and none on the weekend. We need all-day rail transit running both ways. This could be accomplished by adding a third track on the MARC rail line from Frederick and Brunswick to D.C or by building monorail or light rail along I-270 from Frederick through Urbana to Shady Grove.
Please sign our petition to the Frederick County Council. Tell them to oppose the toll lane plan that would make traffic congestion worse on I-270. And ask them to put all-day rail transit at the top of the list of transportation priorities they send every year to the state Department of Transportation.
Petition to the Frederick County Council
Dear Council Members:
Please don’t let the Maryland Department of Transportation’s toll lane plan make our traffic problems worse.
Your older constituents remember what happened the last time I-270 was widened: traffic was supposed to flow freely for at least 20 years, but instead traffic jams returned in less than 10.
Plus, the plan is to widen the section of I-270 between Shady Grove and the Beltway first. Shady Grove to Frederick would come later, if at all. So 8 lanes of northbound traffic at Shady Grove would merge into 2 lanes at Clarksburg. That will make traffic jams even worse driving to Frederick County on I-270.
Also, even if the toll lane plan works as intended, drivers in the free lanes will continue to sit in traffic jams. Why? Because the for-profit company operating the highway will only make money if people pay to drive in the toll lanes. And people will only pay to drive in the toll lanes if the free lanes are congested.
We need transit alternatives that provide all-day two way train service to Montgomery County and D.C. This could be done by adding a third track to the MARC train to Frederick and Brunswick or by building monorail along I-270. The state Department of Transportation is refusing to plan for all-day train service, but Montgomery County planners are launching a study of all transportation alternatives for the I-270 corridor next July.
We ask Frederick County to:
- list all-day rail service as a top priority when the county sends its next transportation priorities letter to the state;
- join with Montgomery County to study transportation alternatives for the entire I-270 corridor; and
- oppose high-priced toll lanes on I-270.