Yes, Virginia…is trying to revive plans for outer beltway and new Potomac River crossing

The following was sent out via email by the Montgomery Countryside Alliance. Over the years, the alliance has been diligent on this issue, working to head off any and all efforts to build a new Potomac River crossing which would inevitably also include a new major road across Montgomery County’s unique and special Agricultural Reserve.

Please consider responding to their request, and sending an email today to the members of the Montgomery County Council and County Executive Ike Leggett.


Yes, Virginia and development proponents are trying to revive plans for an outer beltway and bridge crossing through the Ag Reserve. Yet again. Though this ill-conceived plan has been repeatedly studied and dismissed by planners as a non-solution, the Loudoun VA board of supervisors just voted unanimously in support of the project. There is the potential that the proposed bridge will be included in the Council of Governments Transportation plan.

(click on the image to open a larger version of it)

(click on the image to open a larger version of it)

In response to these troubling developments, last week Council President Roger Berliner introduced a resolution for the Council to formally oppose the proposed bridge and outer beltway.

EXCERPT:

Urgent action is needed to dissuade the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) from supporting a study of a new Potomac River bridge. The project, which
includes extending Route 28 in Virginia to the Intercounty Connector in Maryland via a new
northern bridge of the Potomac, was recommended for study by the TPB’s Long-Range Plan
Task Force at its July 5 meeting. The issue will come before the full TPB at its July 19 meeting.This resolution urges the TPB to reject inserting any new Potomac River bridge crossing project into its long-range transportation plan.

Good support was given by other Councilmembers, notably Marc Elrich, and George Leventhal.

The resolution faced no opposition and will move to a vote on July 18. This is a good first step toward yet again battling back the latest push for the bridge. Now Council members need to to hear your appreciation and request for their unanimous vote against this boondoggle on the 18th. We are also looking to County Executive Leggett to similarly voice his opposition as there continues to be a misperception in northern Virginia that the Executive’s position in opposition may have changed.

For the most part, the Maryland side has been united in opposition to the needless traffic producing sprawl that this project would cause – however, this map posted on Fairfax Underground shows the sentiment we are up against.

The map above and the image at the top of the email are two sides of the same coin – northern Montgomery County is protected farmland and rural communities by design. The truth is that Montgomery County has its own traffic concerns, and comprehensive plans to address them and has every reason to say no to bending to decades of poor land use decision and transportation plans in Virginia.

Please can you take a moment (and share this alert widely) to thank President Berliner and Council Members and County Executive Leggett for their continued commitment to wise planning and transportation solutions and urge them to vote in favor of the important resolution on July 18?

Sample email:

Dear County Council Members and County Executive Leggett,

Thank you council members for voting unanimously on July 18 for the resolution laying out your position against the outer beltway and Potomac bridge crossing. This project would be a catastrophic waste of resources and a crushing blow to the County’s Agricultural Reserve, thriving communities and valuable natural resources. I encourage the Council to keep up its opposition to this project and continue working toward wise transportation solutions. I call on our County Executive to firmly state in writing his priorities and continued opposition to this project as well.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Send your email to (copy and paste and please bcc us at info@mocoalliance.org):

councilmember.berliner@montgomerycountymd.gov
councilmember.riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov
councilmember.hucker@montgomerycountymd.gov
councilmember.floreen@montgomerycountymd.gov
councilmember.elrich@montgomerycountymd.gov
councilmember.leventhal@montgomerycountymd.gov
councilmember.navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov
councilmember.katz@montgomerycountymd.gov
councilmember.rice@montgomerycountymd.gov
and the County Executive: ocemail@montgomerycountymd.gov

With this proposal still alive, we need to be at the table to represent you with full resources. Collectively, as we did 16 years ago, we can ensure that real solutions for transportation needs take priority and long successful land preservation plans continue to thrive.

In 2001, we won the fight against this same bridge project because of the commitment and support of local people like you. If you are a first time donor or need to renew your membership – either way, we welcome your help.

Thank You!

PS: As an addition to our action alert, folks can write directly to the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments:

https://www.mwcog.org/tpbcomment/


Washington Post
Planners to weigh 2nd Potomac River crossing from Montgomery — again
by Bill Turque
July 10, 2017

EXCERPT:

The idea of a river crossing north of the perpetually clogged American Legion bridge has long interested businesses, planners and many road-weary commuters.

But the projected multibillion dollar cost, competing priorities and some studies showing that it would only make traffic worse have left the proposal stuck on the drawing board.

Support for the bridge has historically been stronger among Northern Virginia officials and businesses. That divide appears to be as wide as ever.

Montgomery Council President Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda), said Monday that the project would seriously damage the county’s 90,000 acre agricultural reserve. Maryland’s transportation dollars, he added, would be better spent widening Interstate 270 and the Legion bridge.

“We need to fix what is broken, not fantasize about a bridge that will never happen,” Berliner said at his weekly news conference.

Berliner said he will sponsor a resolution at Tuesday’s council meeting condemning the project. “In my judgment this is a zombie bridge, and we need to put a stake in this.”

MCA

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