Hundreds gather to voice opposition to I-270, Beltway widening plan

Hundreds gathered in Silver Spring Sunday to oppose a transportation project that would impact millions across our region: the widening of the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 in Maryland.

Gov. Larry Hogan's plan would impact over 70 miles of interstate and add toll lanes through a public-private partnership. He says changes are needed to reduce what he calls the "soul crushing congestion" that's only expected to worsen in the future.

But not everyone is on board.

Those at the meeting voiced concerns that the process is moving too quickly, other ideas aren't being considered, and local leaders aren't being heard.

What's particularly controversial is an early assessment that says 34 homes and four businesses along 495 would have to be destroyed, and 1,500 other properties could be impacted.

Another bit of information drew gasps from the crowd.

"I can't even even tell you how much park land is going to be impacted. Right now, given the map they're showing and discussions we've had, it's somewhere around 300 acres of park land," said Carol Rubin of the Montgomery County Planning Department.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich flatout called the project a mistake that's not going to work.

Gov. Hogan took to Twitter to call people at the meeting "pro-traffic activists" holding a "roadkill rally."

He went on to say that they show no regard for the hundreds of thousands who sit in traffic every day, and offer no real ideas.

A crucial vote on the project by the Board of Public Works was supposed to happen later this week, but has been postponed due to one board member being on vacation.