FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2021
PUBLIC HEARINGS SET FOR PROPOSED HOT LANE TOLL RATE RANGES FOR PHASE 1 SOUTH: AMERICAN LEGION BRIDGE I-270 TO I-370
Registration Still Open For Hearings This Month;
Public Comments Accepted Through August 12
BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) is holding public hearings this month as part of the toll rate range setting process public comment period for proposed High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes in Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370. The public comment period opened May 20 and continues through August 12. Written and voicemail comments are now being accepted, and the hearings will provide additional opportunities to comment on the proposed toll rate ranges for the record through public or one-on-one testimony.
The MDTA will hold two in-person testimony hearing sessions, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, July 12, at the Hilton Washington D.C./Rockville Hotel & Executive Meeting Center in Rockville, and two call-in testimony hearing sessions, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 14. During the hearings there will be no formal presentation and no responses to questions can be given. The public can listen live to the hearings via telephone by calling 855-701-1977 or by watching a livestream at mdta.maryland.gov/ALB270TollSetting.
Registration is still open for those wishing to provide testimony during a public hearing. Registration is available at mdta.maryland.gov/ALB270TollSetting or by calling 888-725-0174. Members of the public will be allotted three minutes, and elected officials will be allotted five minutes, per person, for testimony. Prior to attending a public hearing, the MDTA encourages review of all public hearing materials available in the Virtual Information Room at mdta.maryland.gov/ALB270TollSetting.
The new Recommended Preferred Alternative (RPA) identified by the Federal Highway Administration and the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration for the Managed Lanes Study focuses solely on building a new American Legion Bridge and delivering two HOT lanes in each direction on Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370, with no action at this time on I-495 east of the I-‑270 eastern spur.
Under the RPA, existing general-purpose travel lanes throughout the corridor would be retained and remain free for use by all motorists. Drivers with less than three occupants in their vehicle would pay a toll only if they choose to use the HOT lanes. HOV3+ would allow carpools, vanpools and other vehicles carrying three or more people to travel faster and more reliably in the new HOT lanes free of charge any time of day. Buses and motorcycles also would be granted free passage on the new HOT lanes, providing opportunities for a faster, more-reliable trip.
The new RPA would address existing traffic and long-term traffic growth, enhance trip reliability, provide additional travel and transit options and improve the movement of goods and services between key economic centers in Maryland and Virginia. This alternative also will provide significant pedestrian and bicycle commitments to improve connectivity of area sidewalks and trails, including the addition of a multi-use trail on the new American Legion Bridge across the Potomac River.
MDTA’s toll rate range proposal is limited in focus to solely Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370. The elements of the MDTA staff tolling proposal for public comment are Minimum and Maximum Toll Rate Ranges, Soft Rate Caps, Escalation Factors and Discounts that are detailed in the public hearing materials at mdta.maryland.gov/ALB270TollSetting.
The in-person testimony public hearing sessions July 12 in Rockville will provide opportunities for verbal public testimony for the record and will be livestreamed. For those who wish, one-on-one testimony can be presented via court reporter in a separate area. Limited printed copies of the informational boards presented in the Virtual Information Room will be available. All MDTA staff and participants at the in-person hearing will be required to follow current CDC guidance regarding COVID-19 precautions. During the sessions, a limited number of registrants may be allowed, socially distanced, in the testimony room. Observers and others in the queue to present testimony will be required to wait in a designated space to allow social distancing within the building.
The July 14 call-in testimony public hearing sessions will allow an opportunity for verbal public testimony via telephone (advanced registration required to be admitted to the phone queue). To provide one-on-one testimony during the call-in hearing sessions, call 855-701-1977 and leave a single voicemail message limited to three minutes.
In addition to the hearings, written comments and call-in testimony through voicemail will be accepted for the official record through 5 p.m. Thursday, August 12. Those interested may:
- submit an electronic comment form at mdta.maryland.gov/ALB270TollSetting;
- download and email a completed comment form to ALB270TollSetting@mdta.maryland.gov;
- print and mail a completed comment form to Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370 Toll Rate Range Public Comment, Maryland Transportation Authority, 2310 Broening Highway, Baltimore, MD 21224; or
- provide call-in testimony at 855-701-1977 and leave a single voicemail that is limited to three minutes.
ALL COMMENTS received, whether at the hearing or through other methods, will be given EQUAL CONSIDERATION.
If you are unable to access the hearing materials online, or if you require special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or require language translation services (free of charge), please contact the MDTA’s Title VI Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 410-537-6720 at least ten days prior to the first hearing.