The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Hogan’s toll road plan is the wrong approach

Gov. Larry Hogan in Annapolis on Oct. 17.
Gov. Larry Hogan in Annapolis on Oct. 17. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)
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The pro-expansion Dec. 9 editorial “Mr. Hogan’s toll road plan might work — if done right” was upsetting for many citizens of the neighborhood communities directly affected by and opposed to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) plan for a “$9 billion blueprint to widen the Beltway, Interstate 270 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway by building more than 100 miles of toll lanes.” The focus should first and foremost be on the viability of the proposed public-private partnership. Citizens Against Beltway Expansion has done an economic analysis indicating that a $9 billion investment in four additional lanes will fall short of yielding adequate toll revenue for a $9 billion investment even if tolls are in the $40-per-trip range.

Data from the U.S. history of public-private partnerships for road expansion projects is another cause for concern, because they have often required additional sweeteners from the states after the initial contracts were signed. In this regard, we think the total cost of the governor’s plan would be far above $9 billion.

The Dec. 9 Metro article “A year into I-66 tolls, Virginia commuter habits have shifted” was a detailed analysis of the Interstate 66 tolls that indicated they have significantly disrupted traffic patterns but are not carrying more traffic throughout the rush-hour periods. Mr. Hogan’s toll road plan is not a solution; it is the wrong approach.  

Myles Boylan, Silver Spring