The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Toll Lanes Near D.C.

Dec 6, 2021

In November, Maryland transportation officials decided on the rates private operators can charge for drivers using the two new lanes to be added each way to highways I-495 and I-270 outside Washington, D.C. Tolls can go as high as $45 for this 12-mile commute!

It’s true these highways and the nearby 60-year-old bridge over the Potomac River are congested day and night with what the governor calls “soul-crushing, worst-in-the-nation” traffic.

But state officials do not propose hiring public workers to renovate the highways and bridge. Nor do they propose the best measure—building a subway line under or over these highways. No, instead they simply want to privatize the highways. The Republican governor and Democratic comptroller voted together last summer to pay 54 million dollars to Transurban and Macquarie to design multi-billion-dollar plans for adding the lanes and building a wider bridge. These for-profit companies can then charge tolls on the added lanes.

Adding toll lanes won’t solve the traffic problem. But it will continue to crush commuters’ souls—and empty their wallets, too!