Monday, April 18, 2016
Poll: Majority favors new Potomac River crossing, Beltway express lanes, widening I-270
Residents polled in suburban Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia said transportation is the top long-term issue for our region, and a majority favor investing in projects to reduce congestion. By a margin of 2-to-1, they said congestion is getting worse, not better.
59% of residents favor building a new bridge across the Potomac north of the American Legion Bridge. 71% favor adding Express Lanes to the Capital Beltway in Maryland. And 70% favor widening I-270. 75% would like Metro to provide 8-car trains.
Of course, this all costs money. The highway projects provide more bang for the buck, and move more commuters for each dollar spent. All three projects cited above could be built entirely at private expense, since they would most likely be toll lanes/roads/bridges. But even as public projects, they are far cheaper than light rail or bus rapid transit. A highway could be built for the same price as the Purple Line cost overrun, to demonstrate how much more affordable roads are than transit.
Any of the road projects listed above, as well as the Rockville Freeway or M-83 Midcounty Highway Extended, would carry more commuters per day than the entire BRT system proposed by Montgomery County - and more than the Purple Line and Corridor Cities Transitway combined.
60% of residents said they would be willing "to pay a little bit more" to construct these and other projects, including widening I-66 in Virginia.
The survey was conducted by OpinionWorks. 800 randomly-selected residents were interviewed by telephone, with a margin of error of 3.5%.