Study: Construction of New Highway Improvements, Bridge to Bring $12.6 Billion to Region

Illustration of the American Legion Bridge and details on how $6 Billion in P3 investments will drive economic growth

The Center for Regional Analysis (CRA) at George Mason University finds that building a new American Legion Bridge and expanding the Washington, D.C., region’s network of managed toll lanes into Maryland will generate $12.6 billion in construction related economic activity and support 43,400 job-years of employment. A job-year is one job lasting for one year.

The proposed project will construct a new American Legion Bridge across the Potomac River and add 37 miles of highway improvements from the north side of the bridge as part of the I-495/ I-270 corridor to Frederick, Maryland. This project will connect Maryland with the expanding managed toll lane network in Northern Virginia.

Phase North of the project, along I-270 from I-370 to I-70, is part of an ongoing, federally-required environmental study which considers an array of highway improvements to address roadway congestion.

Photo of the Center for Regional Analysis Director, Terry Clower
Terry Clower: ‘The jobs supported by this project will boost regional labor income by more than $3.3 billion.’

“Building this important regional mobility asset will cost about $6 billion. The economic impacts of that spending will be mostly realized in the Maryland suburbs, but will be felt across our region,” said Terry Clower, director of the CRA. “The jobs supported by this project will boost regional labor income by more than $3.3 billion.”

Accelerate Maryland Partners (AM Partners) is the private entity in a new Public-Private-Partnership (P3) with the state of Maryland to finance and build the project without local or state tax dollars. Transurban, whose North American headquarters is located in Tysons and currently operates 53 miles of managed toll lane facilities, known as Express Lanes, in Northern Virginia, is leading the AM Partners team.

The study is the result of a partnership between Transurban and CRA, which is housed in the Schar School of Policy and Government, and other Mason researchers examining a wide range of economic and social issues related to the development and operation of managed toll lane solutions for urban mobility challenges

Managed toll lanes, a fast-growing approach to traffic management that has been successfully implemented in major cities around the world, allows drivers the choice of paying a dynamically-priced toll to use restricted access lanes. Using a free-market approach, the value of the toll varies to encourage or discourage the number of users so that traffic-flows on the managed lanes remain relatively unencumbered. The proposed managed toll lanes would allow transit and high-occupancy vehicles (three or more passengers) to use the managed lanes at no cost.

The new roads and bridge are crucial to promoting regional economic competitiveness, Clower added. “State and local leaders recognize that mobility is a key determinant of economic success,” he said. “This will generate economic contributions to the region for decades to come.”

About CRA

For over 30 years, the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University has provided local and state government, business, and non-profit leaders with data, analysis, and insights to support critical decision making in support of regional economic and community development. Learn more about CRA projects and activities at