Montgomery County Council Repeats Unanimous Opposition to Bridge

The day before the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Transportation Planning Board was scheduled to vote whether to study options for a new bridge across the Potomac River, the Montgomery County, MD, county council repeated its unanimous opposition.

The idea of a new river crossing between Loudoun and Montgomery County has come up many times in the past, recently picking up steam in Northern Virginia again. The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, which funnels hundreds of millions of dollars into transportation projects every year, recently identified an “Outer Potomac River Crossing” at Rt. 28 on its long-range wishlist, and Loudoun County supervisors have voted unanimously to add a new bridge to the Countywide Transportation Plan.

On July 19, the Transportation Planning Board is scheduled to vote on 10 initiatives from the Council of Governments’ Long-Range Plan Task Force for further study—among them, a new bridge.

But the view from Montgomery County dais is clear: no new bridge.

Councilman Craig Rice said on Tuesday, “There is not any benefit for the county for having a second Potomac River crossing.”

“The reality is, there’s no money for this, there’s not going to be, this is not going to happen, and for someone to study something that doesn’t happen is not going to bring any relief, for whatever reason, doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Montgomery Councilman Sidney Katz.

Council members suggested other projects, such as improving I-270 and the American Legion Bridge, would be more realistic. Montgomery County argues that a new bridge would damage the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve, established in 1980, which sits in the southern portion of the county. The resolution adopted by the council on Tuesday states there is “no feasible route” for a roadway to a bridge in Montgomery County.

County council President Roger Berliner, the resolution’s lead sponsor, remarked on the unanimity of the vote.

“I think that’s an important message to send to the Transportation Planning Board tomorrow,” Berliner said. He added the proposed study “distracts us from the things we need to do.”

“Fix the American Legion Bridge,” Berliner said. “You want to put something on that can actually create regional cooperation instead of regional tension […] That’s something that can happen. This will never happen. And it should not happen.”

rgreene@loudounnow.com
@RenssGreene

4 thoughts on “Montgomery County Council Repeats Unanimous Opposition to Bridge

  • 2017-07-18 at 1:02 pm
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    Who could have seen this coming? Everybody. Yet it never stops our board from handing out fat cat “study contracts” to their cronies.

    A smart, aggressive, reporter would start digging into these “studies” and compile the amounts; a list of who’s who, and the end results of the “studies.” Nothing like a little sunlight on the entire “study scam.” Even then, Chair Randall would still claim there is “zero” Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in Loudoun government.

  • 2017-07-18 at 6:35 pm
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    It is a shame that Montgomery County finds building a bridge that will alleviate the traffic congestion is not important. To those who live in the historic route 15 North corridor the traffic has grown exponentially in the past 19 years since I built my house. The traffic is a huge inconvenience and headache who share the road with our Maryland neighbors who come to work every day in Virginia. This problem is bigger than our regional BOS and should be worked on by the State of Virginia and Maryland legislators to agree to a bridge crossing. If that does not work the State of Virginia should consider a commuter tax with employees who live in another state but come to work in Virginia. We cannot keep shouldering the cost to maintain our roads and contribute to our traffic headaches. I don’t care how these out of state worker may contribute to our tax base when they buy lunch while at work. People want there wasted 20-40 mintutes of their lives per day times the 365 days we sit in traffic so someone from Maryland can make a living using our roads. There are bigger powers to be other than Loudoun County BOS that need to make things happen.

  • 2017-07-18 at 10:10 pm
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    “Council members suggested other projects, such as improving I-270 and the American Legion Bridge, would be more realistic.” Then, why have they not done that? I don’t think either road has been widened in 25 years!

  • 2017-07-19 at 3:54 pm
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    Vin, you know the answer. They [government] don’t actually want to fix anything. They want the problem. There’s too much money (ours) to be passed around. There’s campaign donations to collect. Pay offs and carve outs to be worked. Speeches and press conferences to run their mouths at. And in the end… nothing. Pass it down to the next generation of tax payers.

    It’s as our fellow writer says above — 20 years of living off 15 North, and it’s only become worse. JP is absolutely correct about the amount time they spend in traffic, and the $400,000 “study” our Board blew our tax money on, was completely wrong.

    A significant issue is the percentage of added on cost in corrupt regulations and insane environmental rules to any project – it can be 40% or more of a project, and often have little to no effect on anything, except of course to provide an avenue to grab a slice of the cake. Does anyone really believe it costs a Billion plus bucks to build a bridge across the Potomac anywhere above the fall line?
    It’s a sham, grossly inflated, and all on purpose. Heck! We’re not paying for it… our kids and grand kids are. Screw them! Run that tab up on needless and inflated costs! Meanwhile, people like JP want the two weeks of every year of their lives back they spend sitting in traffic.
    One of the best lines from the HBO series “The Wire” is the well meaning but corrupt union boss paying the even more scamming lobbyist. Union guys says: “We used to make things in this country… Now we just have our hands in each others’ pockets.”

    Follow the money. It always, always, comes down to money.

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