ROCKVILLE, Md. - Most D.C.-area drivers would love to see less traffic on Interstate 270 and the Capital Beltway, but at what cost?
Some Montgomery County residents fear Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's $9 billion plan to relieve congestion could cost them their homes. It's a point elected officials made repeatedly at a meeting - ostensibly held to discuss statewide transportation priorities - in Rockville Thursday night.
Dozens of concerned residents packed the hearing room, with many holding signs reading, "Don't Widen Interstate 270." One person, dressed in a dinosaur costume, held a sign that said, "Lexus Lanes Are Pre-historic."
Their fear is that the governor's plan to add four lanes to Interstate 270, Interstate 495 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway can't be accomplished without people losing their homes and businesses to make space.
However, Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn repeatedly told residents that will not be the case.
"I am very confident that we will stay within our existing right of way, and we will not take anyone's home," he said.
Nevertheless, skepticism persisted even after the meeting.
"I'm glad to see them listen to the public, but we've got to hold their feet to the fire and make sure that these promises are kept," said Maryland Transit Opportunities Coalition Chair Ben Ross.
Construction on the project is scheduled to begin in 2020.