Tell Comptroller Franchot: Stop the "Luxury Lane Heist"

The Maryland Department of Transportation had repeatedly promised that the $11 billion plan to widen I-495 and I-270 for privatized, for-profit tollways would pay for itself without taxpayer risk or subsidies. But the price tag for this boondoggle is rising and MDOT is not keeping its promise.

The Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission (WSSC) recently told Prince George’s and Montgomery County officials that it could cost as much as $2 billion to move water and sewer lines to make way for the proposed private toll lanes on I-495 and I-270. Under current law, this cost would fall on WSSC customers. The company that would build the lanes and collect the tolls won't have to pay a dime! (Read the Washington Post coverage of the $2 billion Luxury Lane rate hike here.)

This huge bill was a complete surprise. In over two years of testimony and public meetings, MDOT didn't say one word about us footing a $2 billion construction bill for the Luxury Lane corporation.

And there are other costs that local communities will be stuck with: stormwater management expenses, loss of park land, an increase in global warming vehicle emissions, more pollution in our streams and rivers. (MDOT won’t estimate how high the tolls could be – they've topped $50 in Northern Virginia -- and now this. What other “surprises” are waiting for us?)

Marylanders who care about fiscal responsibility want Comptroller Franchot to use his pivotal role on the powerful Board of Public Works to protect Maryland and its taxpayers from MDOT's bad deal before it's too late. (The three-member board has authority over Luxury Lane contracts and Franchot is a swing vote.)

Send a message to Comptroller Franchot. Demand that the toll way corporation pay for the WSSC expenses and all costs related to the addition of for-profit toll lanes to I-495 and I-270. Tell Franchot to “Say No to the Luxury Lane Heist” and “Yes to Protecting Maryland” from predatory, privatized, polluting (P3) highway boondoggles.

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