ANNAPOLIS, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Maryland Governor Larry Hogan told FOX 5 he’s confident he’ll defeat any effort to hit the breaks on his plan to widen I-270, I-495 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, and to ease congestion for drivers stuck in traffic.
Democrats from Montgomery County are trying to slow down the governor’s plan. One bill introduced Tuesday called for longer environmental studies on the project. Another aimed at concerns the state would seize homes of people near the highways.
“If we want to be serious about tackling climate change and curbing its effects, that conversation has to involve how we build our roads, how we build our transit systems and how we get around,” said Delegate Vaughn Stewart (D-MD).
“In some areas, my resident’s property goes right up against the highway! So my residents and I are all very concerned about where these additional lanes are going to put and whether our property is going to be taken,” said Del. Sara Love (D-MD).
Testimony on the environmental study said that if that bill was enacted, it could delay the expansion of I-270 and the Beltway for years. While the delegate behind the bill to block the state from taking house acknowledges she’s heard the governor say he’s not doing that. She wants it in writing.
FOX 5 caught up with Hogan outside the statehouse in Annapolis Tuesday. He again said – categorically, he’s not looking to take people’s houses. He’s looking to ease the mind-numbing congestion that’s strangling the region.
“Look, most people are thrilled with this idea. We are not out there to take anybody’s houses. There’s an enormous amount of environmental studies already being done and these are just delaying tactics and I can tell you that a vast majority of people want us to fix the darn road,” said Hogan.
Supporters of widening say if the goal of more environmental studies is to reduce greenhouse gas, then more delay would have the opposite effect. If the roads don’t get fixed, cars will continue to sit idling in bumper-to-bumper traffic, spewing emissions, which is not good for the environment either.
A final vote will come before this session ends in 41 days.