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On a Road to Nowhere —The Truth about the ICC
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by Alana Wase | 2008

It’s true that traffic around D.C. is awful, but is this the way we want to address it, with more lanes of highway? Let’s take a stand and stop this beast once and for all!

As you read the title of this article, many of you might be reminded of the Talking Heads’ catchy hit from 1985.  Unfortunately, unlike the carefree approach the song suggests, the Intercounty Connector calls for the exact opposite:  action. Let’s take a stand and stop this beast once and for all! 

As many of you know, the Sierra Club has been waging a very long campaign to stop the ICC.

     The cost of the proposed highway is expected to exceed $3 billion dollars. This financial commitment will drain all of the state’s transportation funding for public transit, like the Red Line in Baltimore City or the Purple Line in Montgomery County.  The environmental repercussions of the 18-mile long, six-lane wide, $7-toll highway are grave.  The ICC will create further sprawl, with its concomitant destruction of tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay. It will cut through residential communities, located only eighty meters from an elementary school, and within 500 meters of 30,000 people whose health will be affected by the traffic’s pollution and noise.

     It’s true that traffic around D.C. is awful, but is this the way we want to address it, with more lanes of highway? Shouldn’t we be a little more technologically advanced?  The greenhouse gases emitted from cars on the ICC are predicted to cancel out completely the improvement in air quality that Maryland hopes to make with the new CAFÉ standards. To top it off, the road is expected not to reduce congestion on routes 495, 270, and 95 but rather, to increase it!  We can agree that the ICC is the wrong solution for Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties’ traffic woes, and a fiscal problem for the entire state.  In particular the ICC would shift needed jobs and growth from Baltimore City and Prince George’s County to already overburdened Montgomery and Frederick Counties.  

Fortunately, there is still time to act.  With three different bills in the legislative session to stop the ICC, it’s NOT a done deal—far from it. Delegate Barbara Frush (D. Prince George’s County) has introduced HB 1471 to defund the ICC.  With over forty co-sponsors this could be a winner.  The bill repeals the Intercounty Connector Financing Plan passed by the General Assembly in 2005 and liberates more than $2 billion in state debt capacity and in state and federal funds.  Who can say no to this? 

The second bill, by Delegate Dana Stein (D. Baltimore County) requires the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Department of the Environment to assess and quantify the full greenhouse gas impacts of the Intercounty Connector and the growth and increased driving it would induce.  The final bill would require the state to disclose the cumulative public health impacts of air pollution from the ICC. 

Regardless of what county you live in, who your representatives are, if we want to make any of these bills go anywhere and put an end to this “road to nowhere” we’ve all got to pitch in from across the state.  A call, email, letter, or visit to your representative does make the difference.  Help hold our officials accountable.  For the names and contact information of your state delegates and senators, go to:

> 2008 Table of Contents


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