The Spectre Of Amazon Colors MoCo Decisions Over Road Planning

Steve Burns
WMAL.com

ROCKVILLE – (WMAL) A long-proposed east-west connection in Montgomery County is seeing the light of day once again, but this time it’s thanks to what may be looming in the not-too-distant future for the county: the massive Amazon HQ2 project.

Montrose Parkway East has appeared in county planning documents for decades as a connection from Rockville Pike to Viers Mill Road. It would be built in the same vicinity of the county’s rumored site at White Flint, proposed to house Amazon’s second headquarters.

The road’s future is set to be debated Thursday in front of the County Council’s Transportation and the Environment, chaired by Councilmember Roger Berliner.

“We have not had White Flint build out as fast as we anticipated,” Berliner, also a candidate for County Executive, told WMAL. “I’m of the view that it’s not something we need to turn to in this moment.”

Berliner advocated for other priorities, including additional entrances to the White Flint Metro station. He said the $120 million price tag is too expensive for a 1.6-mile road.

“We have more pressing issues that we do need to attend to that both the property owners and the community are asking us to attend to,” he said.

However, Berliner admitted the debate will change should Amazon choose Montgomery County and build near the site.

“That would change the dynamic immediately, and we would then turn to it immediately,” he said.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has already proposed a package that includes $2 billion in transportation improvements for the area around Amazon’s headquarters, which is expected to house around 50,000 employees. Berliner said Montrose Parkway East might be one such project included in that package

“Do we want to commit to building this road now in the absence of a commitment from Amazon?” Berliner asked. “No.”

Copyright 2018 by WMAL.com. All Rights Reserved. (PHOTO: Montgomery County Government)

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