The Maryland Board of Public Works (BPW) voted to advance the transformative Traffic Relief Plan to ease traffic congestion for hundreds of thousands of commuters every day, and dramatically improve quality of life in the Washington capital region region for decades to come.
The board approved amendments to the conditional Public-Private Partnership (P3) designation for the plan, including implementing Maryland and Virginia's historic ‘Capital Beltway Accord' to build a new American Legion Bridge.
"I'm so pleased that we are here today to advance our transformative traffic relief plan which will finally address the second-worst traffic congestion in America and begin to solve what has been the number one problem in the Washington capital region for decades," said Gov. Larry Hogan. "With this vote, we will be moving forward on a bipartisan, common sense interstate agreement that has eluded elected leaders throughout the region for many decades."
The Washington capital region has the second-worst traffic congestion in the United States. Congestion increasingly limits the economic growth and competitiveness of the region — particularly along these vital corridors — and diminishes our quality of life. Left unaddressed, the amount of time that area commuters will spend sitting in traffic would increase by 74 percent by 2040. Moreover, Maryland faces a looming estimated $1.7 billion in unfunded system preservation and improvements for these corridors.
"At a time when many of America's roads and bridges are crumbling, and at a time of divisiveness and dysfunction in our politics today, this project is a testament to the balanced, all-inclusive approach Maryland is taking to improving and modernizing our infrastructure," said Hogan. "This is truly a monumental and historic achievement, not just for Maryland but for the entire capital region. I think it is very fitting that on this first day of the legislative session, we are beginning by advancing a major, bipartisan, common sense agreement that will dramatically improve the quality of life every single day for hundreds of thousands of area residents and commuters for decades to come."
The vote approves a dedicated investment in regional transit service improvements and delivery of the P3 Program through a phased approach, allowing further minimization of impacts and design concept collaboration with communities and stakeholders within the delivery process of the various phases. The first section to be delivered under Phase 1 will be along I-495 from south of the George Washington Memorial Parkway to I-270 and along I-270 from I-495 to I-370. The remaining phases will be solicited at a later date.
Traffic Relief Plan Timeline
July 2016: Gov. Hogan, joined by then-Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, announces the Innovative Congestion Management Project to ease traffic backups along the heavily-congested I-270/I-495 corridor and on local roads in Montgomery County.
September 2017: Delivering on his commitment to provide innovative transportation solutions for Maryland, Hogan announces the details of the Traffic Relief Plan for I-270 and I-495.
2017-19: The state holds more than 200 engagements as part of an aggressive public outreach plan for the project, including meetings with at least 27 different elected officials, as well as community association meetings, legislative briefings, landowner meetings, workshops, and open houses.
June 2019: The Board of Public Works approves a conditional Public-Private Partnership (P3) designation for the Traffic Relief Plan, and the state agrees to engage in additional discussions with Montgomery County officials.
November 2019: At a regional transportation forum in Washington, D.C., Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announce the ‘Capital Beltway Accord' to build a new, state-of-the-art American Legion Bridge and add capacity on both sides of the Potomac River, addressing one of the most notorious bottlenecks on the East Coast.
January 2020: The Board of Public Works again votes to advance the transformative Traffic Relief Plan, and implement the ‘Capital Beltway Accord.'