The Washington Post is reporting Maryland residents meet with skepticism Governor Hogan’s plan to widen I-270, the Beltway, and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.
“Maryland voters narrowly oppose adding express toll lanes to widen three of the state’s most congested highways, a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll finds, highlighting public skepticism about one of Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature transportation plans.”
“The poll finds 44 percent of registered voters statewide favor adding express toll lanes, while 50 percent oppose them. Nearly twice as many strongly oppose the idea as strongly support it, 33 percent to 18 percent.”
“In follow-up interviews, even voters who said they would like to see roads widened to relieve severe congestion — which slows traffic to 15 mph or less for several hours each day on some highways — don’t want to pay tolls for that relief.”
WaPost continues: “In a related project, construction is expected to begin next year on a $1.1 billion extension of the express toll lanes in the Interstate 95 corridor north of Baltimore. The transportation package aims to achieve an ambitious highway expansion without increasing the gas tax or other levies — a condition critical to Hogan, who is seeking reelection and whose opposition to tax hikes is central to his political brand.”
“The poll finds that in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties together — the two suburbs where most of the lanes would be added — voters oppose the plan by 54 percent to 41 percent. The opposition is concentrated in Prince George’s, which opposes it by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, 62 percent to 35 percent. There’s a virtual tie in Montgomery, with support at 47 percent and opposition at 48 percent.”
The Post continues with interviews of drivers who don’t want to pay high toll rates that Virginia car commuters see on I-66 inside the Beltway. That’s understandable frustration because car commuters have been subsidized with free road access for one hundred years. They have sticker shock from finally having to pay what space on the road is worth.