As you’ve probably heard, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) plans to expand the Capital Beltway (I-495) and I-270 by adding toll lanes, and now wants to accelerate the project by passing amendments through the Maryland Board of Public Works.
We don’t think this project should more forward until there has been a comprehensive alternatives and impact analysis under the National Envrionmental Policy Act (NEPA). Rushing the highway expansions and failing to complete the environmental review process first creates significant environmental, legal, and financial risks.
As the Virginia experience has shown, the 12-lane highways that result from adding four toll lanes are a massive, generational alteration of our landscape and come at high cost to homes and neighborhoods, people and health, and the natural environment. Maryland has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, yet toll lanes will increase driving and emissions.
Image: urbandispute, Flickr