Political Pothole | Bethesda Magazine
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Political Pothole

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Amid apparent enthusiasm for his plan to combat “soul-crushing traffic” by widening the Beltway and Interstate 270, Gov. Larry Hogan momentarily neglected to ease off the political gas pedal. At Kensington’s Labor Day parade in 2018, Hogan was confronted by protesters who were concerned that their homes would fall victim to the project. “That’s not true—we have no plan whatsoever to take your houses,” he asserted, repeating his comments at an Annapolis press conference several days later. Critics remained skeptical—and, in fact, when a state study was released last April, it revealed that as many as 34 homes along the Beltway would have to be razed. Facing protests over the impact on public park acreage as well as private property, Hogan slowed down a bit—asking the state’s Board of Public Works in June to delay work on the Beltway in favor of moving ahead on widening I-270. But the governor hit the accelerator again at year’s end, seeking to restore Beltway widening as a top priority in a deal with Virginia to expand the American Legion Bridge. This time, critics responded by questioning another earlier Hogan pledge—that the project would be built by private firms with toll revenues “at no cost to the taxpayers.”

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