One of the first major decisions that Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) will have to make is whether to move forward with the plan to widen the American Legion Bridge and Interstate 270.
The Maryland Transit Administration has comprehensively studied transit service improvements in this corridor using the managed lanes. The proposal commits more than $600 million for Montgomery County transit. Virginia will receive millions each year from the 495 NEXT project for transit service between Bethesda and Tysons when the lanes are complete. None of this will happen without the revenue generated by the HOT lanes.
Furthermore, HOV and transit vehicles can use the reliable managed lanes for free, something not guaranteed in the original proposal. The proposal also includes a new bike and pedestrian connection between the C&O Canal Trail and the Potomac Heritage Trail in Virginia.
This project will relieve congestion and reduce travel times for the general-purpose lanes. According to the most recent data collected in 2022, 61 percent of D.C.-area households with incomes under $60,000 rely on automobiles to get to work. They will benefit from the improved mobility provided by the HOT lanes.
Further delays will only increase the cost of completing the project and endanger many of the community benefits, transit investments and pedestrian and bicycle improvements. The American Legion Bridge must be replaced. Failing to act now will affect funding for other transportation priorities. Now is not the time to abandon the traffic relief this project will deliver. We urge Mr. Moore to move forward.
Jason Stanford, Arlington
The writer is president of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance.
Rick Weldon, Frederick
The writer is president and chief executive of the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce.
Paula Ross, Germantown
The writer is president and chief executive of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce.