WHY WE NEED TO FIX I-270 & I-495


SMTA Takes Candidates on a Rush Hour Road Trip!

On Thursday, SMTA hosted candidates for Montgomery County Council and County Executive on a drive up I-270 in order to highlight the time, frustration and unsafe conditions that people experience on our interstates every day. There were surprising results….

The State’s proposal to fix the Beltway and I-270 cannot come soon enough for those who sit in traffic for hours every day, yet the plan has become a lightning rod in the last couple of months. “We decided to host this rush hour tour to create awareness of the need to fix them – not to lobby for any of the alternatives – but to highlight why we need to add capacity,” said Jennifer Russel, Chair of SMTA.

Surprisingly, only three candidates took time from campaigning to experience what should be a big election issue: Nancy Floreen and Robin Ficker, who are running for County Executive, and Shelton Skolnick who is running for an At-Large seat on the County Council. Thirteen other candidates either declined or didn’t respond to SMTA’s invitation.

“Traffic on I-270 and throughout the County can be a nightmare” said Nancy Floreen. “It impacts our quality of life every day, and I am the only candidate for County Executive with a track record of delivering on major transit and road projects, like the ICC, Montrose Parkway and the Purple Line, that get us where we need to go, without so much congestion. Addressing our transportation needs is one of my top priorities.”

Candidate Shelton Skolnick said that fixing I-270 and the Beltway affects hundreds of thousands – not just hundreds – and he is surprised there is not more vocal support for it. More than a half million commuters spend 67,000 per day sitting in traffic on our highways. The rush hour trip takes twice as long as in non-rush hour. “The numbers are shocking and even more shocking is that some candidates would oppose a solution before it’s designed,” said Russel.

Skolnick added that given the number of drivers who illegally use the HOV lanes, “I would change the HOV lane to a toll lane immediately, as an experiment. HOV lanes are impossible to police and tolling would open up that lane to more drivers.”

Robin Ficker (R), who is also running for County Executive states: “I have been traveling I-270 every day from my home in Boyds for 20 years. Yesterday’s trip with SMTA confirmed my belief that we should have dramatically improved I-270 a decade ago. The stretch from Montgomery Village to Clarksburg must be included in the PRESENT, not a future, study.”

To view candidate positions on SMTA’s priority transportation projects, go to our website: http://www.mdtransportation.org/2018-election/