There is no free lunch. Marylanders would pay the bill. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) would shift the $9 billion to $11 billion bill to drivers, who would pay high tolls or suffer painful congestion. This project has not been submitted to the Maryland legislature for approval — Marylanders will effectively be “taxed” without representation. Work on Interstate 270 from Interstate 370 north to Frederick would not start until the other work was finished and enough toll revenue was collected to pay for the construction farther north. Commuters going to Germantown, Clarksburg, Urbana and Frederick would be essentially ignored, and the I-270 choke points would remain for many years.
The effect of more traffic on an expanded Capital Beltway on the already jam-packed north-south roads leading into Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring and Northwest D.C. is not addressed in this project. Traffic nightmares in these neighborhoods would get only worse.
Marylanders need the state to take a harder look at other options, including light rail, extending Metro, bus rapid transit and all-day MARC trains that could be implemented to ease traffic sooner and cost less.
Jim Bartlett, Bethesda
The expansion of Interstates 495 and 270 probably would result in the destruction of houses and businesses and disrupt other homes and schools by reducing the size of their land and increasing the noise level. This is the worst way to solve the issue of traffic jams on those roads. Besides being an old-fashioned solution, it is only temporary and will require new extensions in the future, which means accelerating the deterioration of the urban environment. The only right solution is to use the vast resources needed for such an undertaking on another, more intelligent alternative: investing in the development of mass transportation in a way that makes it attractive to those who today use their cars.
Marcello Averbug, Potomac