Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has had it with Montgomery County politicians.
Notwithstanding the small but vocal Outerspace down-county activists crew, Montgomery Countians share Mr. Hogan’s frustrations.
Just ask the majority of Gaithersburg’s elected municipal officials.
“Montgomery County politicians are threatening to stop nearly every single transportation project in the National Capital Region,” Hogan said in a five-minute-plus video published Wednesday to his official Twitter account.
Which Montgomery County politicians, exactly?
- County Executive Marc Elrich (D)
- Montgomery County Councilman Tom Hucker (D)
- Montgomery County Councilman Evan Glass (D)
- Maryland state Del. Marc Korman (D-Montgomery)
- Several Montgomery County state lawmakers
The above-listed elected officials are leading the effort to kill Hogan’s signature traffic relief project.
Most of the above-mentioned politicians – Marc Korman notwithstanding – have offered no real plan to mitigate Montgomery County’s traffic congestion nightmare.
But, of course, it’s election season
Montgomery County politicians seemingly cater to their far-left activist bases rather than compromise with Hogan to fix what should have been fixed long before Hogan was elected governor.
You know it’s election season when Evan Glass virtue signals to his Twitter followers about denying Hogan’s marquee transportation project.
Where’s Evan Glass’ credible traffic relief plan?
Adding Bus Rapid Transit lanes to Montgomery County interstates is a fine idea if more than 10 Montgomery Countians rode the bus.
The once-a-year smiling photograph Glass takes of himself promoting county bus ridership is a well-meaning public relations campaign, admittedly.
Ah, yes, campaign season is upon us.
You’ll see Tom Hucker speaking passionately before his activist, anti-Hogan supporters in Rockville; sleeves rolled up like a common working man.
Mr. Hucker felt it necessary to refer to the governor’s P3 plan as a “crazy 1980s project” as he stood before a Rockville crowd of friendly activists.
“Crazy 1980s project” is one of those red-meat one-liners Mr. Hucker was eagerly impatient to toss out before audiences that just won’t be there to cheer him on for a 2022 statewide campaign.
Hucker’s Maryland comptroller bid might need a decades-long rain check.
Marylanders expect a lot of talk and little action.
It’s all-skate, and the political rink is open for business.
Maybe roller skates is next on the Montgomery County politicians’ list as a Hogan traffic relief alternative.
Beware though, if it moves, they tax it.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s Remarks
I just want to thank everyone for taking a few minutes to join us this afternoon.
Thank you for being
involved in this important issue.
Just want to take take a couple of minutes to talk about, you know why I think the work that both the Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance and the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance are doing couldn’t be more important right now, especially.
Maryland’s ‘balanced approach’ to transportation
You know, in Maryland, we’ve taken a balanced approach, an all-inclusive approach to transportation infrastructure.
We’ve invested record amounts in both transit and road improvements. We’ve got about $9 billion in highway improvements to 900 different projects currently under construction.
We’re building the Purple Line.
Now, one area that we’ve been trying to focus on now for nearly six years has been addressing the traffic on the Capital Beltway, which is consistently rated as one of the worst bottlenecks in a country.
It’s so critical to the economy of our entire region. It’s not just a nuisance for commuters, who are sitting in soul-crushing traffic every day. But it also hurts our ability to attract more economic development to the region.
So, we’ve got a traffic relief plan that includes fixing the Capital Beltway, I-270.
The Capital Beltway Accord
And two years ago, I got together with Governor Northam (D) from the Commonwealth, and we came together on a Capital Beltway Accord, which is kind of a bold, transformative way to finally build a new American Legion Bridge across the Potomac River and relieve the traffic congestion that where it’s coming in from both sides – from my I-270 and 495.
We’re not only going to try to fix the bridge and the roads, but it also is going to add reliable bus service, transit funding for local jurisdictions. It’s going to add new bike and pedestrian networks, and it will create 1000s of jobs and boost our economic recovery.
And it’s also going to free up for us critical funding for critical projects all across the state with the $6 billion we’re going to get from private sector investment.
Montgomery County politicians catering to far-left activists
So despite all that, and despite, you know, the bipartisan and interstate consensus with the Commonwealth of Virginia, a handful of Montgomery County politicians have continued repeatedly to try to sabotage the project.
And they’re catering to a small group of kind of road traffic activists at the expense of the overwhelming majority of residents – about 70% – who desperately want something done about this traffic; and they support our plan.
Washington Post Editorial Board rips Montgomery County’s intractable politicians
In today’s Washington Post, I hope you all saw that. The editorial board once again came out strongly in favor of our plan. They had done one before that said was the biggest action for the region since the ‘70s.
This time, the [Washington Post Editorial Board Board] strongly condemned the actions of these Montgomery County elected officials as an assault on transportation common sense – a combination of partisanship, myopia and dysfunction.
That’s the Washington Post. That’s not my words.
I don’t always agree with the Washington Post Editorial Board – but I think they’re right on this one.
(The Washington Post Editorial Board in 2018 endorsed Hogan’s re-election to a second four-year team.)
Commuters are the biggest losers
You know, The Post correctly noted that the biggest losers are going to be the commuters who are hoping to avert a future of increasingly nightmarish highways.
So because of these short-sighted, far-left politicians threatening to derail this project – it’s not just the new bridge; it’s not just the American Legion Bridge that they’re threatening.
Losing $6 billion in private investment
But there’s much more at stake here than that, because if this project does not move forward, we lose the $6 billion in private funding and the money that they would take to maintain the current bridge – which means that it will eliminate nearly every single transportation project that we have in the entire National Capital Region.
They will be dead.
So we certainly can’t let that happen.
The tiny, whiny minority
But that’s exactly what a couple of Montgomery County politicians are attempting to do.
We’ve negotiated with them in good faith for six years now – repeatedly, over and over again.
They’ve constantly moved the goalposts and changed their story.
They keep going back on their word just to appease kind of what I would call a tiny, whiny minority, rather than doing what most of their constituents desperately want us to do.
So close to fixing the American Legion Bridge
So, you know, after decades of – I think five decades of delays – doing nothing and kicking the can down the road, this is the closest we’ve ever been to finally fixing the American Legion Bridge.
And we really need all of your help to finally get this done.
So I want to thank you all very much for being involved, and I look forward to the discussion.
- In addition, Ryan Miner is the host of A Miner Detail Podcast.
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