Maryland Highway Plan Would Destroy Affordable Housing, Displace Low-Income Residents

A local writer compares the plan to expand I-270 and the Capital Beltway to an earlier era of transportation planning.

1 minute read

June 24, 2018, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Joe Allen reports on an underappreciated consequence of Maryland's plans to expand and add express lanes along I-270 and the Capital Beltway.

"The transportation merits of this project, the public/private construction, and bid process have been controversial, but a tremendous impact that has not received attention is the potential significant displacement of low-income residents along its path," writes Allen.

"Similar to highway projects in the era of Robert Moses, this proposal would displace hundreds of low-income families and knock down affordable homes closest to the region’s job centers. At the same time, even those who don’t lose their house will lack access to the Express Toll Lanes (ETLs), as many of the interchanges in Montgomery County do not have right of way to build separate entrances to the ETL.

Allen digs into the specifics of the difficult-to-acquire 2009 Environmental Impact Study (which he found through public meeting records, not the Maryland Department of Transportation's US15/I270 Multimodal Study website). This is in depth reporting and critiquing of very consequential highway planning project.

Planetizen reported on Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's relatively recent push to widen add express lanes to the Capital Beltway and I-270 in September 2017 and January 2018.

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