Setting Priorities

Each year, the Maryland Department of Transportation receives letters from each County in the State, and the City of Baltimore, outlining their transportation priorities. Those local priority letters can be found at:

Unfortunately, the current local priorities lists from Montgomery, Frederick, Prince George’s and Charles Counties do not place sufficient emphasis on major regional investments that would do the most to reduce congestion. Local residents think this reducing congestion delays should be our top transportation priority, and below are the projects that would do the most in that regard:

TOP-5 “Game-Changing” Investments For Suburban Maryland

Over 60 experts in transportation planning and engineering across the Greater Washington Region were asked to identify a short-list of key “game-changing” investments that, in their view, would do the most to improve the performance of our regional transportation network. An overwhelming consensus was found for the following projects, and regional traffic modeling analysis confirmed all would be highly cost-effective:

  • Multi-modal Improvements to I-270: Widen and re-design I-270 from the Capital Beltway through Frederick adding Electronic Toll Lanes (ETLs) and regional Bus-Rapid-Transit (BRT) service
  • Multi-modal Improvements to I-495: Widen and re-design Maryland sections of the Capital Beltway from the American Legion Bridge to the Wilson Bridge, adding ETLs and regional BRT service
  • New Multi-Modal Capacity Crossing the Potomac River:
    • Short term: Widen and re-design the American Legion Bridge, adding ETLs and BRT to match Virginia’s Capital Beltway improvements
    • Medium term: Add a new multi-modal bridge crossing north of the American Legion Bridge to relieve severe congestion on lower I-270, the Capital Beltway, and the American Legion Bridge
    • Long term: Add new transit service on Wilson Bridge and widen Nice Bridge south of D.C.
  • Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) and Purple Line: The CCT and Purple Line are both near-term transit improvements with proven transportation and economic benefits that are already in current plans
  • Investing in Metro, Completing ALL Other Planned Road, Transit, Bike & Pedestrian Projects: Investing in Metro’s capital improvement program (Safe-Track, 8-car trains), and all other priority improvements identified as regional priorities or in current local master plans; and identify innovative funding solutions to help pay for them where current funding sources are inadequate

What Traffic Modelling Results Reveals

When the new projects above were added to our currently planned network, the results were dramatic: Double-digit reductions in congestion, travel-time savings, and increased transit ridership for millions of DC-area residents, plus a shorter rush-hour, much better access to jobs and housing, and billions of dollars in new job-creation and other economic benefits. SMTA is urging area leaders to move forward quickly on these key projects, many of which can be self-funded through future toll revenues.