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Gov. Hogan's American Legion Bridge reconstruction project revived thanks to panel vote

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Posted at 2:35 PM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 10:58:09-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) on Wednesday revived Governor Larry Hogan's signature Traffic Relief Plan, voting 28-10 in favor of having it undergo a federal air quality analysis.

The focal point of the meeting concerned reconstruction of the American Legion Bridge that goes along with Hogan's vision to relieve traffic congestion along the Capital Beltway in Montgomery County.

“Momentum is growing for our bipartisan interstate plan to fix the American Legion Bridge and relieve traffic congestion on the Capital Beltway," Hogan said in a statement issued Thursday. "This multimodal project will address one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the country, add more transit services as well as bike and pedestrian paths, and free up funding to advance projects across the state."

Back in June the TPB voted to sideline the project in part because some in Montgomery County, including County Executive Marc Elrich, rejected adding any toll lanes on I-270 from the Capital Beltway to I-370 in Gaithersburg.

Hogan insisted the already existing lanes would remain toll free, after he and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam partnered to craft the plan in November 2019.

"With this plan, no one will be required to pay any tolls, all existing lanes will remain free, and billions of dollars in road improvements will be made without any new taxes. Nearly 70 percent of Marylanders support this project to address the second-worst traffic congestion in America. This marks a monumental achievement for our region," said Hogan at the time.

READ MORE: Md. Board of Public Works to advance agreement on new American Legion Bridge

Leading up to the vote, Hogan called those concerned about the project "out of touch," accusing them of trying to sabotage the project.

“A tiny group of out-of-touch Montgomery County politicians continue to try and sabotage the project, catering to pro-traffic activists at the expense of the overwhelming majority of residents who want something done about the traffic and who support our plan," said Hogan.

If the TPB hadn't reversed its decision, Hogan and other Maryland officials said several state road projects would have been in peril.

"Their actions threaten to derail the new American Legion Bridge, the whole plan, and critical projects throughout the region," the Governor said prior to the vote.