Skip to main content

Press Releases

Montgomery County Executive Elrich Requests MDOT Provide Additional Time for Residents to Respond to DEIS Statement for Managed Lanes Study for I-495, I-270

For Immediate Release: Monday, July 20, 2020

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, in a letter to Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Greg Slater, said that the community needs more time to review and respond to the complex and lengthy Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS) for the proposed managed lanes project for I-495 and I-270.  County Executive Elrich requested that the State “extend the time for comment to at least 120 days (preferably longer).”

County Executive Elrich wrote that the currently recommended 90-day study period is inadequate, especially due to the complications of the COVID-19 health crisis. “Reading, reviewing and analyzing this report is a substantial additional burden at this time.”

The County Executive went on to write: “My bigger concern is that you are expecting the community, as well as volunteer organizations, to read and digest almost 18,000 pages in 90 days. People need time to absorb information, to think about their questions and to construct a meaningful response to you, and the 90-day timeline simply doesn't allow it.

“And in the bigger picture, the crisis with the Purple Line Concessionaire indicates that we are not well positioned to construct a good public private partnership (P3) project. Without an in-depth analysis of what went wrong and what needs to be done differently, it is difficult to have confidence in the State's ability to get into another P3 that will protect the state's long-term interests.”

The complete text of the letter sent by County Executive Elrich to MDOT Secretary Greg Slater:

July 17, 2020


Greg Slater, Secretary
Maryland Department of Transportation


Dear Secretary Slater,

I write on behalf of the residents of Montgomery County, and we are very concerned about the plans for taking input on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Managed Lanes study and plans in general for this project. As we know all too well, the coronavirus continues to require great focus, time and attention from our government agencies. Reading, reviewing and analyzing this report is a substantial additional burden at this time.

But my bigger concern is that you are expecting the community as well as volunteer organizations to read and digest almost 18,000 pages in 90 days. People need time to absorb information, to think about their questions and to construct a meaningful response to you, and the 90-day timeline simply doesn't allow it.

And in the bigger picture, the crisis with the Purple Line Concessionaire indicates that we are not well positioned to construct a good public private partnership (P3) project. Without an in-depth analysis of what went wrong and what needs to be done differently, it is difficult to have confidence in the State's ability to get into another P3 that will protect the state's long-term interests. It is important to understand the current situation with the existing P3 before embarking on another one because it appears that there is not a clear solution to the current Purple Line P3 that wouldn’t gouge the State and taxpayers; one possibility would be to instead make it a State project—as it was originally intended—and bring the financing in-house to avoid excessive costs on the borrowing front. I realize that discussion of the Purple Line P3 may not seem obviously related to the issue at hand, but it does point to the need to understand all aspects of a project including the financing; apparently, somewhere in the 18,000 pages of the Managed Lanes DEIS, the possibility of a not previously known public subsidy is mentioned. For such major projects, decision makers and the public need the time to understand the proposals and react to them.

That is why I am asking that you extend the time for comment to at least 120 days (preferably longer). There is no need to hurry, and there is great need to proceed with caution. The community deserves a fair opportunity to evaluate and respond to the document. Extending the comment time to at least 120 days would provide a more reasonable amount of time for public comment. The current process may technically be in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) guidance, but it is now in compliance with the spirit of public participation which rests on the public having adequate time to assess the material and respond. So I respectfully ask that MDOT extend the comment period to at least 120 days so that the process meets both the requirements and spirit of accepting public comment.

Respectfully,



Marc Elrich

# # #


Put the “count” in Montgomery County! Be sure to complete the Census online, by phone, or by mail. It’s safe, confidential, easy, and important. #2020Census #EveryoneCountsMCMD 

For the latest Reopening Montgomery updates, visit the County’s website and follow Montgomery County on Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCountyMD.

Release ID: 20-385
Media Contact: Neil H. Greenberger 301-455-2348