After Promising “Innovation,” I-270 Plan Turns Into
Double-Down on Proven Failure
Press release issued April 14, 2017
“Adding lanes to I-270 isn't innovative and won't fix congestion,” said Action Committee for Transit president Ronit Aviva Dancis. When I-270 was widened to 12 lanes from Germantown to the Beltway in the early 1990s, she pointed out, the State Highway Administration promised that travel times would go down by half an hour or more. Instead, within a few years the road filled up with more traffic, and the backups were as bad as ever.
The project, Dancis said, is a broken promise. She pointed to Governor Hogan's statement when it was announced that “I’m excited to see innovation in action when it comes to solving the problem of congestion on I-270” and Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete Rahn's explanation that the state is looking for solutions short of widening the existing paved surface.
“We've argued from the beginning that this money would be far better spent to upgrade MARC train service to Frederick,” Dancis added. In November, ACT sent the state a proposal to spend the $100 million on additional MARC trains and equipment and a longer train platform at Point of Rocks. The resulting improvements in MARC service would move as many additional people during peak times as an additional half a lane on I-270 all the way from Frederick to the Beltway.
“We've tried for decades to get rid of traffic jams by widening highways, and it hasn't worked," Dancis concluded. "A failed 1950s solution is the opposite of innovation."