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Action Alert: New Vote Suddenly Called on Beltway Expansion Plan

Beltway Near College Park

Next week, on December 4,  the state Board of Public Works will vote on a new version of the scheme to expand the I-495 Beltway and I-270.

The new proposal also speeds up the widening of the Beltway between the American Legion Bridge and I-95. Instead of waiting until after I-270, the Beltway toll lanes would be built first, at the same time as I-270 south of I-370. You can see the proposed amendments here (page 61, under AMENDMENT)

For College Park, and other surrounding communities in Prince George’s, this means that the Beltway expansion may happen sooner than it was previously thought. According to an earlier proposal, the Beltway expansion in College Park and east of it was proposed in phase 3, with phase 1 expansion including I-270 and east of I-495 up to the American Legion bridge, and phase 2 including I-495 in Montgomery County (Silver spring neighborhoods). With the new proposal phase, 1 and 2 will be combined together.

In the past, the MDOT has backtracked on its promises in regards to this project including whether any homes or property would be taken; whether a locally presented alternative would be fully analyzed. Expanding the beltway will only relieve traffic for the short term, but will attract sprawl and heavy traffic on local roads like Route 1 in College Park. MDOT should give more time to consider other smart transit alternatives, such as those proposed in Prince George’s North County Transportation studies

In College Park, Beltway Expansion can potentially cause loss of properties & green space, kill a playground, and increase noise & traffic. Please see my blog post here to learn more.

Not only would the state be committed to a highways-first transportation policy for years to come, spending money better spent on expanded transit, but the way the $11 billion dollar contracts for the toll lanes would be handed out is an invitation to favoritism.

State Comptroller Peter Franchot is the crucial swing vote on the 3-member Board of Public Works. Send him an email now at and tell him to vote against this new scheme.

Here are some points you can make in your email — feel free to put them in your own words, and add any additional points you want to make.

  • The new procurement scheme can potentially invite the abuse of the state treasury:
  • Everything that matters will happen in secret talks with the bidders.
  • Only one month to write the final proposal for an $11 billion dollar contract.
  • The investment firm that wins the contract gets a free hand to pick the construction companies that actually do the work. The state doesn’t know who’s on the teams when it decides which team is best.
  • This dangerous scheme is being rammed through over the Thanksgiving holidays to avoid public oversight.

The comptroller, as the state’s fiscal watchdog, has a duty to protect Maryland taxpayers against this threat.

Please include your home address in the email — it’s important for Comptroller Franchot to understand that taxpayers all over Maryland are upset with this. Again, please write now to 

The College Park City Council is expected to approve a letter to the BPW with its concerns at this Tuesday’s Council meeting.


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1 Comment

  1. Margaret Ramos

    “If you build it they will come” A wider road will be filled with more vehicles.I live 2and a half blocks from the beltway and route 1 now, and the noise is very loud. Th birds are disappearing. I am starting to get deaf. This is just helping more traffic and the only winners will be the company that collects the tolls. Please do not do it. Thank you.

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