New announcements indicate contracting before completion of federally required environmental review.
Sierra Club and others are critical of Maryland Department of Transportation’s (MDOT’s) decision to rush forward on a predevelopment contract with Transurban and Macquarie before the final environmental impact statement is completed.
This announcement directly contradicts prior commitments from MDOT SHA and Comptroller Franchot.
On June 5th, 2019, Comptroller Franchot promised that taxpayers would not be asked to incur a financial obligation for this project and no contract would be signed before completing the required federal environmental review of Governor Hogan’s proposed high-risk $11 billion tollway expansion.
MDOT SHA also made a similar promise at the Board of Public Works (BPW) meeting.
So what happened? Why is there now a secretive predevelopment arrangement before a completed environmental review process that contains a $50 million dollar payment to the developer with taxpayer funds if the project doesn’t go forward as planned?
Josh Tulkin, Director of Maryland Sierra Club, offered this statement:
“Rushing is the opposite of what is needed on such a risky, complex and enormous project surrounding our nation’s capital that is going to be led by and concessioned to a private company for 50 years. Cutting corners is financially reckless and risks further harm to our environment and communities.
We strongly urge Comptroller Franchot, Governor Hogan, and MDOT to keep their promises, stop the rush, and protect Maryland taxpayers by first addressing the serious financial and environmental flaws in the project identified by Sierra Club, the US Navy, government agencies, and thousands of other residents and organizations in comments submitted on the draft environmental impact statement.”