MDOT Sees Project Crunch if I-270 Private Funding Lost

The Maryland Department of Transportation has issued its assessment that statewide funds for road and transit projects will be short if the broad plans for I-270 and nearby beltway area don’t receive the private funding initially anticipated.

For years, Maryland has deliberated the Governor’s proposal to introduce privatized toll lanes on Interstate 270 as a means to fund a congestion solution for that main artery and nearby portions of the Washington DC beltway. When the Board of Public Works voted last week to reject elements of that plan, that major initiative was stalled, or potentially reconfigured.

This week, the Maryland Department of Transportation, who oversees the consolidated Transportation Trust Fund that serves all publicly funded transportation modes, forecasted a resulting loss of project funding to be available for other projects – both transit and roadways.

From coverage in the Washington Post:

The letter dated Monday from the Maryland Department of Transportation to the region’s Transportation Planning Board prompted one local official — and a key toll lanes critic — to accuse Gov. Larry Hogan (R) of “arm-twisting” to try to win back support for his highway plan.

In the letter, deputy transportation secretary R. Earl Lewis Jr. said the state had counted on $6 billion in private financing as part of a public-private partnership to replace the aging American Legion Bridge and make other highway improvements, along with building the toll lanes. Without that private investment, Lewis said, the state would have to divert money from other transit and highway projects to maintain the bridge and interstates as federally required.

Read the full coverage, including local leaders’ response, in the Washington Post.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties
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