No Bridge-building Over Potomac Bridge-building

In Loudoun County, Virginia – just across the Potomac River from Montgomery and Frederick counties – the local Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in support of a new Potomac River crossing east of Goose Creek and Leesburg, and asked staff to begin looking into various alternatives. The National Capital Regional Transportation Planning Board will consider whether to support studying alternatives on July 19.

Maryland officials are less than enthused by the idea, reports The Loudoun Times-Mirror.

“No one, least of all our regional transportation planners, should spend a nanosecond thinking about a second bridge crossing of the Potomac,” Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner said in a statement on Facebook Tuesday. “Fix [Interstate 270] all the way to the American Legion Bridge! We need real solutions to real problems, not fantasies spun by real estate holders in Northern Virginia.”

Although a proposed route has yet to be set, a bridge connecting northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland, via Route 28 to I-270 has long been considered the preferred route for Virginians. Yet that route has continued to cause fierce pushback from Montgomery County officials for years.

Maryland officials fear a bridge extension into the county would harm its 90,000-acre agricultural reserve. Others have also said a bridge would pit Maryland against northern Virginia economically and potentially cause the two sides to have to fight for jobs and workers.  ….

On Tuesday Berliner introduced a resolution formally opposing a new Potomac River crossing and the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board’s plan to study the feasibility of a new bridge, Bethesda Magazine reported.

Earlier this week Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) told reporters the state would not fund any additional Potomac River crossing on its own. WTOP news reported Hogan saying that if Maryland did not have federal and state support for the river crossing, it would not happen, and the state would not pay for it.

Maryland’s Department of Transportation also said it does not support an upper Potomac bridge crossing being added to the Transportation Planning Board’s Long Range Task Force.

“The project would be prohibitively expensive, and Maryland’s impacted counties don’t want the project,” MDOT’s Director of Public Affairs Erin Henson told the Times-Mirror in an emailed statement.