Organization Launched To Push For I-270 Congestion Relief

It wants two studies of I-270 traffic to be completed.

Germantown, Md (KM) A new organization has been formed to push for relief of the traffic congestion along Interstate 270. Fix270Now, launched on Monday at the Milestone Business Park in Germantown, consists of representatives from Frederick and Montgomery Counties who want I-270 fixed.

“We’re going to working with state and local officials to get moving on a pair of project studies that have been tied in basically gridlock, just like the traffic, for years,” says Richard Parson, the Vice Chairman of the Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance.

He says one study is the I-270/Rt. 15 Multi-Modal Study. It considered expanding Metro to Frederick, but that idea was dropped. “There wasn’t the transit alternative other than running express buses and new toll lanes, the only viable transit option to emerge,” says Parsons. “But that study also showed significant traffic relief if we move forward with express toll lanes like Virginia’s done. But that study was put hold in 2008.”

“And the idea is you can use the revenue from those toll collections and keep the existing lane free. But add new lanes that are going to be toll lanes that are going to pay for the construction of that new lane capacity. But also to pay for the running and acquisition of the bus rapid transit vehicle,” says Parsons.

The other study looked at the I-270 spur toward the Capitol Beltway, and recommended that additional lanes be added to that roadway.

Both studies call for widening I-270 which  Parsons says  has a lot of support. “There was poll done by Opinionworks throughout the DC Region, in Frederick County and Montgomery County in particular. And over 70% registered voters want to see I-270 widened,” he said.

The Fix270Now Coalition has picked Congressman John Delaney (D-Md) as its honorary chairman. “The terrible traffic conditions on I-270 are a daily dilemma and a nightly nightmare for Marylanders,” Delaney said in a statement. “The gridlock and endless congestion on I-270 is one of the biggest problems facing Maryland, impacting the quality of life and economic competitiveness of one our most critical job-creating regions. I’m proud to Chair the Fix270Now Coalition because we can’t wait any longer.  We can’t accept minor fixes. We need big transformative improvements to I-270.”

“There’s a great interest across this region now in looking at innovative ways to solve congestion,” says Parsons. “And we think it’s high time Maryland starting catching up with Virginia because they’re way ahead of us.”

By Kevin McManus