Gardner Named As New Frederick County Representative To TPB

This follows as Governor calls for ‘re-vote’ on I-270, Capital Beltway project.











Frederick, Md (KM) It was a rather unusual vote by the Frederick County Council.  On Tuesday, the Board agreed to appoint at her request, County Executive Jan Gardner to the National Capital Region’s Transportation Planning Board. “I  want to make sure that our county position on certain key votes is represented at the Transportation Planning Board. So I’m asking you to confirm this appointment,” she asked Councilmembers.

She replaces Councilman Kai Hagen on the TPB. He didn’t object, calling it the County Executive’s prerogative. “The primary reason this is happening is we have a difference of opinion–which is okay–about a vote I made on a motion to strike the 495/I-270 project for the air quality conforming analysis,” he said. This vote effectively killed the project.

The project, which is supported by Governor Larry Hogan, business interests and commuters who use I-270, would add toll lanes to the highway. But not all lanes would have tolls, and motorists will be  free not to use them.

Since the TPB vote, supporters have been pushing for a “re-vote” by the Board.

Hagen calls it a bad plan. “If you are commuting and you have a choice where you can pick the free lanes or  the toll lanes, which can be $15, $25, $35, $45, and we seen $60 on I-66 for a stretch of   miles, you will pick the free lane unless it’s heavily congested,: he said.

Further: “So they have business model that depends on the free lanes remaining heavily congested in order to work on their profit model,” he continues.

County Executive Gardner said not supporting the 495/I-270 project could mean losing state money on some local transportation projects. “I’m concerned we will lose in that order the US 15 project, or the Maryland 85 {Buckeystown Pike}  Phase Two project. My position is that we should be gathering all the data for this,” she said.

The County Council vote 6-0-1 in favor of nominating Gardner to the TPB. Councilman Hagen voted to abstain.


By Kevin McManus