These Six Questions Needed Answers
Before the BPW Voted on Toll Lanes --

And They Still Need Answers

 

A contract for Governor Hogan's I-495 and I-270 toll lanes was approved by the Board of Public Works on August 11.  This contract awarded exclusive rights to the $6 billion first phase of this project to a team led by Transurban, the Australian company that runs the Beltway and I-95 toll lanes in Virginia.
 
Six big questions were left unanswered when Governor Hogan and Comptroller Franchot voted to set Maryland on a course toward a commitment that will shape the state's transportation and fiscal policy for generations:
 
1) What is hidden in the fine print? The Hogan administration refused to fund review of this contract by the state's Bond Counsel and Financial Advisor, as requested by the State Treasurer.
 
2) Will the project pass federal environmental review? The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is deeply flawed, and the contract makes Maryland taxpayers pay Transurban up to $50 million if USDOT doesn't approve it.
 
3) Will taxpayers wind up holding the bag? The State Treasurer's office identified numerous financial risks in the contract.
 
4) How high will the tolls be? The Maryland Transportation Authority proposed a maximum one-way toll of $50 for the initial 12-mile segment of toll lanes, and Transurban says that isn't high enough.
 
5) Will Transurban be able to block a future rail connection over the Potomac? Unless language hidden deep in the fine print of Transurban's contract with Virginia gets changed, a future train line across the American Legion Bridge would face prohibitive financial penalties.  
 
 

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