As Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) and members of the state’s congressional delegation prepare to meet on Friday to discuss the future of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and other topics, one lawmaker is pouring cold water on the state’s push to take possession of the road from the federal government.
Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D) outlined his concern in a letter to Hogan on Thursday.
“I cannot support any Congressional action to remove the B-W Parkway from the National Park System if the only plan is to build new toll lanes,” Brown wrote.
In 2017 Hogan unveiled a $9 billion plan to widen the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495) and Interstate 270 and to take control of the B-W Parkway from the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees the National Park Service.
Hogan wants to have private firms fund construction in exchange for the ability to charge tolls, similar to the “express” lanes that have been built along I-95 north of Baltimore and in parts of Northern Virginia.
In his letter, Brown said “we must consider a wide array of options for addressing traffic and transportation needs on the B-W Parkway itself and in the region,” including “high occupancy vehicle lanes, bus-only lanes or bus rapid transit.”
Brown – who as lieutenant governor was defeated by Hogan in the 2014 gubernatorial election – said the state and federal government must also consider expanded commuter rail and “high-speed alternatives.”
“Families should not face additional financial burdens on the Parkway, nor should we pursue options that will not lead to permanent congestion relief or benefit drivers of all income levels,” he said.
In a letter last week to the state’s two senators and House delegation in which he urged lawmakers to press for emergency repairs to the B-W Parkway, Hogan called on the state’s federal representatives to get behind his parkway takeover proposal.
The meeting between Hogan and the delegation is set for Friday morning in the State House. Hogan plans to meet with the media after the session.