Former Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) panned the Hogan administration’s plan to provide congestion relief in the traffic-clogged Washington, D.C., suburbs, saying the state’s push to widen Interstates 495 and 270 amounted to “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Glendening, a former three-term Prince George’s County executive and two-term governor, told a Sierra Club fundraiser in Bethesda on Saturday that Maryland’s plan, unveiled by Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) in 2017, would harm the environment without getting commuters to their destinations faster.
“I want to state very emphatically,” Glendening said. “Based on science and data, more roads does not solve the congestion problem.”
The crowd applauded the former governor’s remarks.
Since leaving office in 2003, Glendening has served as president of Smart Growth America, an organization that works with communities around the world to pursue development patterns that emphasize transit, biking and walking over car travel.
Glendening said he has requested a meeting with Hogan to discuss his organization’s latest research.
He noted that the state has added more than 1,700 lane miles in the last decade while traffic has continued to grow.
“I would offer a different suggestion than just building roads,” he said, adding, Maryland should “revitalize our downtowns [and] make our existing communities great places to live and to work and to raise a family.”
Glendening lamented that Annapolis, Columbia and Southern Maryland lack rail service, requiring residents to drive.
“I believe what’s needed more than anything else is a vision,” he said.
He praised opponents of Hogan’s plan to tap private sector financing to fund express toll lanes on I-270 and I-495, which faces a key vote on Wednesday before the Board of Public Works [see related story].
“You’re on the right track,” he said. “It’s a hard battle .. but it can be won. … We can and must move toward walkable, healthy, safe places with shared prosperity and at the same time save our planet.”