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August 19, 2009

Frosh seeks alternatives to I-270 widening

Any illusion of unity in the Montgomery County legislative delegation has been shattered by a letter drafted by Sen. Brian E. Frosh, reported somewhat breathlessly by the Maryland Politics Watch blog, calling on Gov. Martin O'Malley to order a full study of transit alternatives to the $4.6 billion proposal to widen Interstate 270.

Blogger Adam Pagnucco is correct in noting that money is difficult to transfer dollar  for dollar between highways and transit projects, but he's off base when he assumes Frosh's proposal arises from the senator's ignorance of transportation finance. As anyone who has covered the General Assembly knows, Frosh is one of the smartest legislators in Annapolis and a senator whose  expertise  is not confined to the matters before his committee.

Pagnucco also shows a hint of naivete when he writes: "Why would we be daft enough to even hint to the state that we don't want a big transportation project?"

Frosh's letter makes it crystal clear that he does not want to be included in Pagnucco's "we." The senator, perhaps the most dedicated and knowledgeable environmentalist in the General Assembly, is about as likely to join a team promoting a sprawl-inducing road project as he is to sponsor a repeal of the ban on dumping  phosphates in the bay. 

He's  hardly daft. He's a south-county lawmaker who feels secure in the knowledge that his constituents have little interest in a huge, environmentally questionable north county project. Look for his letter to pick up a respectable number of signatures from fellow lawmakers in the Bethesda-Silver Spring-Takoma Park areas of the county.

And by the way, those of us in the rest of the state aren't as dumb as we look to folks from Montgomery. The county's internal division is well-known to political observers in Baltimore and Annapolis. Don't bother to hide your dirty knickers. We've already had a peek.






Posted by Michael Dresser at 9:01 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: On the roads


It seems like this moron michael dresser has found his calling in life, Interstate 270. which the last time i checked was not in baltimore, not even close. but let me tell you michael what 270 is. It is alot of tax money that goes to baltimore. 270 creates money and for an idiot like you writing for a worthless paper to write just about an article per day complaining about 270 and the potential expense of widening it (should have been done years ago). It would do you well to remember where the money comes from in maryland. worry about the orioles (only thing worth a damn in baltimore) and quit complaining about montgomery county.

270 is a lot of tax money that goes to Baltimore?
Sure dude, sure.
You look at the backup daily on the Baltimore beltway on the westside.
That is taxpayer money going to MoCo too, now isn't it?

Don't listen to that fool Michael. I'm happy you found some fire in your voice over this I-270 issue.

I have one serious question about the plans for the whole I-270 project though:

What is going to be done with the Capital Beltway to accommodate the increased traffic coming off of I-270 onto 495? That stretch of highway is already at a standstill for a good portion of each and every weekday. With more volume coming off 270 it will be even worse. And if the Beltway backs up, I-270 backs up, regardless of how wide it is. Is there some solution to this problem that eludes me? Is someone finally going to build that second story on top of the existing Beltway to alleviate the problem. Oh wait, that would cost about a Trillion dollars.

As a resident in Montgomery County for over 40 years I must agree with Bill.
Every time something is mentioned about Montgomery County, whether it's funding for Schools, roads, etc. everyone in Baltimore wants to whine and cry about it. If you don't agree with it you want to do a study and waste more and more of my tax dollars. How about this for a study? 270 NEEDS TO BE WIDENED!!! and that didn't cost a penny.
It seems to me that Baltimore likes the money from Montgomery county but never wants to give any of it back when we need it.

Spend the money to build transit. I'm fine with that. What us in Baltimore don't want is to spend 4.6 billion dollars and get absolutely no return, which is what will happen with lane expansion.

Jed, What about OUR return in Montgomery?
Montgomery County pays more in income taxes than any other county in the state at a rate of 3.20% compared to Baltimore County at a rate of 2.83%
May not seem like a lot to you, but factor in that as of the 2000 census the population of Baltimore County was 754,292 compared to Montgomery County at 873,341. the median income was 50,667.00 & 71,551.00 respectivly, do the math and you can see who pays almost twice as much in income taxes to the state, guess what? It's NOT Baltimore so don't say BALTIMORE doesn't want to spend the 4.6 Billlion, the majority of it is from Montgomery County.
Do you seriously think that a mass transit system will work instead? Do you think that commuters from Frederick, Hagerstown, Pennsylvania, & WVA will take mass transit? and you talk about wasting tax payer dollars.

Money From Montgomery,

You failed to mention that Baltimore City's property tax rate ($2.268) is over three times higher than Montgomery County's ($.683). So while your income tax rate is lower, I'm willing to bet you that Baltimore City's effective tax rate is much higher than Montgomery's.

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About Michael Dresser
Michael Dresser has been an editor, reporter and columnist with The Sun longer than Baltimore's had a subway. He's covered retailing, telecommunications, state politics and wine. Since 2004, he's been The Sun's transportation writer. He lives in Ellicott City with his wife and travel companion, Cindy.

His Getting There column appears on Mondays. Mike's blog will be a forum for all who are interested in highways, transit and other transportation issues affecting Baltimore, Maryland and the region.

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