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. 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 the tolls.
For much less than the cost of the toll lane scheme, Maryland could build a third track on the MARC rail line between Frederick and D.C. Trains could run back and forth all day to Frederick and Brunswick. Rush hour trains could come as often as every 15 or 20 minutes. Our county government has long supported MARC, but since the trains began to run to Frederick in 2001 further improvements have not been a high priority.
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 expanded MARC train service 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.
Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation is refusing to even study transit alternatives, including the MARC Brunswick Line. With another train track, trains could run all day in both directions.
We ask you to oppose the misguided toll lane plan for I-270. And we ask you to list expanded MARC service as a top priority when the county sends its next transportation priorities letter to the state.