With a quarter of a million vehicles choking I-270, it’s a traffic nightmare for commuters.  The gridlock is choking the corridor and possibly preventing economic growth in the County. More than hour-long commutes to locations within Montgomery County should not be the norm.

This summer, Governor Larry Hogan on Monday held a press conference alongside I-270 to pledge $560 million in highway projects across Montgomery County, including $230 million for improvements to I-270 to help alleviate congestion.

The 35-mile I-270 corridor in Montgomery and Frederick counties carries from 79,400 vehicles a day on the north end of I-270 to 261,200 vehicles a day near the Capital Beltway. By 2035, traffic loads will increase to 107,000 to 290,000 vehicles a day.

In the past week, the Fix 270 Now Coalition has formed, bringing together business, civic and lawmakers to advocate for alternative transportation to alleviate the gridlock on I-270.

The coalition wants to revive dormant state studies that could lead to the addition of express toll lanes, which could manage traffic and provide lane space and financial support for a regional rapid bus system. The regional buses would provide a limited stop service between Frederick and Rock Spring Park in the North Bethesda area, offering connections along the way to other transit and bus services. The coalition also supports construction of a local rapid bus system, known as the Corridor Cities Transitway, to link centers of activity between Shady Grove and Clarksburg. This group deserves to have their voices heard by the State and by regional leaders.

Transportation is the second biggest challenge facing the economic health of Montgomery County.  Working towards innovative solutions to ease the gridlock will continue to send the message that Montgomery County is open for business.  It is time to fix I-270 now.