Thursday, June 6, 2019
Hogan capitulates on Beltway express lanes, I-270 express lanes will go to bid
The lanes would be paid for by private contractors, who would recoup their expenses via the tolls on the new lanes. Taxpayers would pay virtually nothing. That arrangement allows the state to bypass the inept Montgomery County Council, which has only worsened congestion since the MoCo political cartel seized control of the Council in 2002.
Why Hogan would capitulate to the noisy 1%, who have received outsize coverage from the cartel-controlled local press, is mind-boggling. It's not the first time. When Hogan had the advantage to choose early voting sites favorable to his party in 2016, he buckled and agreed to a Democratic-favorable site plan. What's the point of being governor if you don't exercise the power you hold?
Treasurer Nancy Kopp sounded confused and unfit to serve on the board, claiming to be unfamiliar with the details of a plan Hogan announced two years ago. She sounded an awful lot like our Council, which spent the last four years outlawing Styrofoam, Raid and teenage tanning beds, when they weren't debating whether or not to ban circus animals. Good God. Once again, Beltway commuters have been hung out to dry by our elected officials at both the county and state levels.
Hogan deserves tremendous credit for coming up with a brilliant end-run around our corrupt, criminal and utterly-incompetent County Council that has failed to reduce traffic congestion AT ALL over decades. His plan could theoretically one day deliver the express lanes on the Beltway via yesterday's vote. The problem is, by capitulating to the delay on the Beltway part, Hogan will be long out of office by the time that phase would begin. Instead of locking it in now, Hogan has left it up to the political winds of 2022 and beyond. We know from painful experience, and the child-like ballot choices of low-information voters, how that's likely to end.
Montgomery County is currently at rock bottom in the region in economic development by every relevant measure, from job creation to new business starts to business growth. Meanwhile, Virginia has successfully built the same type of Express Lanes from D.C. to the Fredericksburg area, and is winning all of the jobs and corporate headquarters. Montgomery County, by contrast, hasn't attracted a single major corporate headquarters in over twenty years.
We cannot reclaim our old status as an economic player in the region until we build the long-delayed new Potomac River crossing to Dulles, the M-83 Highway upcounty, and Express Lanes on the Beltway and I-270. Our County Council is one of the few in America actively trying to prevent infrastructure from being built. It's insane.
Transit is not a viable alternative for the vast majority of those using both interstates. The people who propose it with a straight face know that better than anyone - which is why they have to resort to brute force. No one wants to spend two-to-three hours commuting each way daily via transit. The Council's goal is to maintain and worsen congestion to justify their $10 billion Bus Rapid Transit boondoggle, and deliver massive profits to their developer sugar daddies.
The Council must be replaced. We need elected officials who respond to the majority of their constituents who commute by car - not to tie-dye advocates of 1960s bus plans, greedy developers and the Rockefeller Foundation. What irony that Hogan, et al, delayed Maryland Beltway relief at the same time Virginia is starting on the final leg of their Express Lanes to Fredericksburg. Montgomery County is now the bedroom community for the booming job centers in Northern Virginia and the District.
The silent majority must rise up and oust these criminals in 2022.