Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's plan to widen I-270, Beltway approved

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's plan to widen I-270 and the Beltway has gotten the green light. After a marathon meeting in Annapolis Wednesday, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved the governor's P3 plan to help ease what he calls "soul-crushing traffic."

Montgomery County Executive March Elrich sparred with Hogan during the meeting saying the governor had not listened to community concerns. Hogan, however, rejected that idea.

"That is complete nonsense. We announced this traffic relief plan two years ago after literally decades of inaction and public outcry regarding the horrific on I-270 and I-495," said Hogan.

"We want to work with you. I've said over and over again... I don't expect you to surrender when I say something. You don't expect me to surrender when you say something. Let's work together," said Elrich.

The final vote was 2-1 in favor of the $11 billion plan to widen I-270 and I-495. I-270 will now be a Phase 1 project, I-495 and the American Legion Bridge is a Phase 2 project, and I-495 in Prince George's is Phase 3.

Nearly two dozen people spoke out in opposition to the plan at the meeting.

Montgomery County Councilman Tom Hucker has been one of the leaders in that opposition but said the governor's decision to start on I-270 instead of the Beltway was welcome news.

"This is the first day I've been hopeful about this whole project since it began because, for the first time, the governor has indicated a willingness to accommodate local concerns, the concerns of local resident and local elected officials," said Hucker.

The plan is not in its final form, but this is a very big step forward.

Hogan stressed Tuesday that even with adding toll lanes to I-270, the free lanes that currently exist will continue to exist saying "what's free, will remain free."