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Crucial Vote on Beltway Expansion Delayed – Rally Still On

According to the Washington Post, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan yesterday canceled this week’s meeting of the Board of Public Works amid a growing public feud with state Comptroller Peter Franchot, whose vote he needs on the board for his plan to add toll lanes to the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270.

Mr. Franchot made the post bellow on his FaceBook after many residents raised some serious concerns last week about the timing of the vote.

The board was expected to vote as early as Wednesday on the latest changes to Hogan’s proposal. The Republican governor needs the board’s approval before the state may begin soliciting private companies to build the lanes and finance their construction as part of one of the largest public-private partnerships in the country.

However, Franchot (D), who supported the plan in June and is considered the board’s swing vote on the toll lane proposal, said last week that he objected to the latest changes.

The earliest the Board can now take up the changes is on January 8, the same date the new General Assembly session begins in Annapolis. The General Assembly is expected to take up legislation addressing public-private partnerships, such as the P3 tollway proposal.

Also, the December 14 article is the first big Washington Post story on the Maryland P3 proposal that also covers in detail some of Virginia’s botched P3 tollway deals.

The article quotes experts from the state of Virginia and elsewhere about the supreme importance of taking the time upfront to negotiate a deal that will protect taxpayers and public interests as well as address traffic issues.

“If done well, you can get a good project built. If done poorly, you can get a P3 Frankenstein,” John Forrer, director of George Washington University’s Institute for Corporate Responsibility told the Washington Post.

Tomorrow’s rally against the Beltway expansion is still on.

Monday, December 16, at 7 pm. Silver Spring Civic Center

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