Nadeau Introduces Resolution Opposing MD Highway Widening in Favor of Transit
Today, along with Councilmembers Grosso, Cheh, and Silverman, Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau introduced a Sense of the Council resolution to oppose the State of Maryland’s Highway Widening Plans, and advocate for public transit as a solution to our region’s congestion.
In September 2017, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a proposed widening of I-495, I-270, and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (MD 295) as part of a “Traffic Relief Plan.” This plan was chosen over more sustainable solutions proposed by Maryland’s Department of Transportation, including rail or dedicated bus infrastructure.
This highway widening has also been pursued despite the impact it will have on many Maryland homes and businesses. Though this Council does not have direct impact on decision-making about the Beltway or 270, widening these highways would have direct negative consequences on the District of Columbia. Therefore, I believe it is our duty to act.
Numerous studies and decades of real-world experience across the world have shown that adding lanes to highways does little to reduce congestion. When roads are widened, more drivers are encouraged to use them, and the end result is the same traffic problem as before. This “induced demand” of increased car commuting will mean that the safety of DC’s residents will be put at risk as a result of traffic fatalities and cases of asthma in our most vulnerable communities.
This highway widening means that DC will inevitably have to spend more on road maintenance. It also is a setback for our region’s ambitious climate goals. Now is not the time to widen highways in Montgomery County when our colleagues there just committed to a 100 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.
This resolution urges the Maryland Governor to reconsider plans to expand highways in the DC region in favor of solutions like rail and bus – the only solutions proven to work.
The full text of the resolution is below.