By Hamil R. Harris, Special to the AFRO

Traveling along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and I-270 could come with a toll if President Donald Trump and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan have their way.

The U.S. Department of the Interior and the Governor have signed an agreement to consider transferring ownership of the BW-Parkway from Uncle Sam to the state of Maryland or install toll lanes but such an agreement would have to be approved by Congress.

A photo for the exit to the Baltimore Washington Parkway. (Courtesy Photo)

Completed in 1954, the 29-mile federal highway is a road, park and monument all in one. The parkway, which is lined with trees and prohibits big trucks, is dedicated to former Prince George’s County lawmaker and Congresswoman Gladys Noon Spellman and it ferries thousands of cars between Washington D.C. and Baltimore daily. But in recent years, the aging roadway is better known for its many accidents and interminable backups.

Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke signed the agreement earlier this month to consider the transfer to Maryland.  Governor Hogan signed the document June 22 that calls for a study to determine if installing tolls or transferring the roadway would be “an appropriate use of this Federal resource.”

While Hogan has enjoyed support from Democrats, this move couldn’t have come at a worst time. He is certain to be challenged on the proposal by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). The Hogan administration has promised to work with Maryland’s Congressional delegation on a bill that would transfer control of the parkway to the state either as part of a sale or trade of property to the Maryland Transportation Authority.

The Baltimore-Washington Parkway is part of a $9 billion effort proposed by Governor Hogan to install toll lanes around the state. He also wants to install tolls on the Capital Beltway in Maryland and on Interstate 270 up to Gaithersburg. The tolls would pay for the multi-billion dollar expansion.

In what could be a traffic nightmare on a corridor often plagued by accidents, Hogan also wants to widen the road with additional lanes in each direction. Maryland officials have crafted plans to add privately operated toll lanes on the parkway and 270.

The public has several opportunities to weigh in on the BW Parkway and I-270 proposals:

July 17

Eleanor Roosevelt High School.

7601 Hanover Parkway

Greenbelt, MD 20770.

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July 24

Central High School

200 Cabin Branch Road

Capitol Heights, MD 20743.

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July 25

Thomas W. Pyle Middle School

6311 Wilson Lane

Bethesda, MD 20817