Maryland Sierra Club Urges Frederick County Vote Down Tolls For I-270 & The Capital Beltway.
A re-vote on the issue is scheduled for Wednesday by the Transportation Planning Board.
Frederick, MD (NS) During the public comment portion of Tuesday’s Frederick County Council Meeting, Josh Tulkin, president of the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club, called in to give his view of the I-270 and Capital Beltway expansion vote. “The expansion on the scale that this project is calling for would undo all of the other significant advances that we have made in reducing transportation pollution and would have significant land use effect.”
The proposal delete the widening of I-270 and the Capital Beltway was voted out of a federal air quality analysis on June 16 by the Transportation Planning Board (TPB), essentially killing the proposal. But following pressure by the Governor and other supporters, it’s up for a re-vote on Wednesday. Supporters say widening would be beneficial to businesses and people who commute between Northern Virginia and Washington D.C.
Northern Virginia has already approved adding toll lanes to ease congestion on I-495 before the American Legion Bridge into Maryland. The road now faces a bottlenecking issue at the bridge.
Governor Hogan proposed a “public-private partnership” to help fund the project. The toll lanes would be built by a private company who in turn would take most of the profits from tolls paid.
Josh Tulkin is skeptical as he said, “There’s been no documentation showing that it’s actually a financial improvement to be using toll revenue process with a private investor rather than actually having the state fund the project itself.”
Officials in Prince George’s have said they regretted voting against the toll lanes and Frederick County has replaced Kai Hagen with County Executive Jan Gardner on the TPB. Hagen previously voted against the toll lanes.
If a re-vote on widening I-270 and the Capital Beltway using revenue from the toll lanes does not pass, the Maryland Department of Transportation may have to cut other road projects.
Volunteer Fire and Rescue
In a unanimous vote on Tuesday, the Frederick County Council approved a bill to make changes to the volunteer fire and rescue service. The legislation would remove the residency requirement for members of volunteer fire and rescue companies, and change the frequency of accreditation to every two years for volunteers. The measure was sponsored by Council Vice President Michael Blue.