Transportation

Maryland Toll Project Facing Uphill Battle After Lead Partner Drops Out

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Maryland’s plan to build a new American Legion Bridge and put toll lanes along part of the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 could be facing a major uphill battle after Transurban, the lead transportation group that was going to build that project, walked away from it last week.

If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed – and likely won’t change any time soon – it’s the traffic at the American Legion Bridge.

“The American Legion Bridge is a problem,” said Jonathan Michaels, who lives a short distance from the bridge.

He thinks the brakes shouldn’t be put on the project entirely.

“Simply saying the status quo is here and people are going to sit in traffic on the Inner Loop all day long, or now the Outer Loop, it’s just ridiculous,” Michaels said.

Montgomery County Council President Evan Glass said while he sees this as a time to reset the project, some main points will remain.

“We’re not going back to the drawing board, because there are a number of things that we all agree on,” he said. “We all agree that we have to rebuild the American Legion Bridge and that there are ways to increase capacity on 495 and 270.”

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In a statement, Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld said, “MDOT is committed to delivering a new American Legion Bridge and transportation solutions that relieve traffic congestion throughout this corridor and promote equity and environmental protection.”

The next order of business for the state of Maryland will be finding a new contractor to build whatever is agreed upon.

This is a public-private partnership where the private company will build the facility and likely get to collect tolls in return.

State leaders said they will be meeting with residents and local leaders to decide the next steps of the project.

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