Developer exits Maryland Express Lanes Project on I-270, I-495

Developer Accelerate Maryland Partners is bowing out from the express lanes project on I-270 and I-495.

The effort to add express lanes to both local highways has faced several delays. AM Partners was originally selected in February 2021 as the state's preferred developer for Phase 1 of the project. 

Since then, Transurban, the Australian company that owns 60% of AM Partners, says extensive work has been done on the project in partnership with the Maryland Department of Transportation. 

However, the developers say they continue to face challenges, including significant delays to environmental approvals, changing political landscape, and environmental lawsuits that remain unresolved. 

READ MORE: Future of I-270 expansion in limbo

On Thursday, AM Partners announced it has decided not to proceed with the Maryland Express Lanes Project any longer, and has submitted a notice to MDOT to terminate their agreement. 

"Transurban is disappointed that we were unable to reach agreement with Maryland to deliver the critical congestion relief that travelers across the region need and want," said Amanda Baxter, senior vice president of development and operations at Transurban North America. "We respect Maryland’s decision to pursue alternatives – whether that is in project scope, delivery, or partnership. As a long-term partner to governments in the region for more than a decade, we will continue to take a collaborative approach, working towards more connected travel choices across the Capital Region."

Former Governor Larry Hogan's plan was to replace the American Legion Bridge and expand I-495 and I-270 with high-occupancy toll lanes.

Transuburban says extensive work has been done on the project, but the developers continue to face challenges including significant delays to environmental approvals, environmental lawsuits that remain unsolved and a changing political landscape.

As a candidate, Governor Wes Moore said he had some "real issues" with the toll lane project, including the equity and the environment.

Governor Moore responded in a statement saying, AM Partners terminating the agreement does not change the state's commitment to addressing traffic congestion in the region. 

"The termination of the Phase P3 Agreement has no bearing on the approved federal Record of Decision for Phase 1 South or the state’s commitment to addressing congestion issues affecting the region," the governor's statement reads. "Because AM Partners executed its contractual right to not proceed, MDOT does not owe any payment to AM Partners. The state remains committed to continuing progress and will move forward in a manner that ensures social equity, environmental protection, and engagement with local partners while always acting in the best interest of taxpayers."