Maryland comptroller raises P3 concern

Maryland Comptroller Brooke Lierman has flagged her unease over the potential for a return to a P3 model to deliver the I-495 & I-270 scheme.

American Legion Bridge

As the Board of Public Works - of which Lierman is one of three members - approved initial contracts to get the scheme off the ground, she underlined her opposition to using a P3 model should the governor and his transportation department move in that direction.

The scheme stalled earlier this year, after the Tranbsurban-led team pulled out of the proposed P3 program to deliver the route (which includes the American Legion Bridge), citing challenges including “environmental approvals, changing political landscape and environmental lawsuits that remain unresolved”.

However, Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) has since applied for over $2bn of funding from the federal government in an effort to deliver the project.

While a P3 option could still be used for the scheme, Lierman’s latest comments suggest such a move is unlikely.

“I’m certainly in full support of going after federal funds…and a public funding model,” she said during the latest meeting of the board. “I do also continue to have concerns about the efficacy of highway expansion as a means to alleviate traffic…and most relevant to my office, any future reliance on a transportation P3.”

The P3 model for the project was promoted by previous governor, Larry Hogan, but his replacement in office, Wes Moore, has been less supportive of the approach - although MDOT has not ruled out using private finance to deliver the scheme