Those opposed to the ICC
Against the ICC
For anyone who had any doubts what the ICC was really about, you needed look no further than the front page of The Washington Post Business section, not one day after Gov. Ehrlich's announcement. The headline read "More Intense Development Likely With Md. Connector." After having been to every one of the State Highway Administration forums and being assured that the purpose of the ICC was traffic alleviation, the truth finally came out. But I must admit that I am amazed it took less than 24 hours before the vultures started circling.
The ICC has always been about the money. To those who think that the road will be built in order to get where you're going faster and easier, and because Doug Duncan and Bob Ehrlich feel your pain, here's a prediction: After the Wal-Marts, 7-Elevens and McDonald's restaurants are built alongside the road, after the 300 homes on five-acre plots are developed on either side of the highway, you will be stuck in traffic even worse than before, and we'll be talking once again about another new highway a few miles north.
The fact is that we never gave smart, progressive ideas a chance. The solution for some people was always a big, fat road. Which will be, for those same people, the most lucrative solution.
The ICC would be an unmitigated disaster. It would take $2.4 billion away from higher-priority transit projects, destroy farms and forests and do nothing to improve traffic for most area trips. People cite job growth as an ICC benefit. Nonsense. Sprawl-based job growth is the last thing we need. And by funneling customers to the proposed Konterra mall, it would destroy jobs at existing stores in Wheaton and Silver Spring. The ICC is based on the assumption that oil is either infinite or easily replaced and that farmland is of lesser value than pavement. These assumptions are false. Oil is finite and is running out at exactly the rate that we consume it. America's oil production peaked in 1970. We have been pumping more oil than we discover since the early 1980s and now burn around three times as much as we find each year. Many oil analysts believe that global oil production will peak by 2010.
If we start building the ICC now, it should be done in 2010, just in time to be obsolete. It's time to put a stake in the heart of this poorly conceived project.
Rosemary M. Hamill
To this lifelong resident of Montgomery County, who has watched the exponential growth in people and traffic for the past 30-plus years, one thing has become abundantly clear: More roads do not solve congestion problems. The ICC is not a long-term solution, perhaps not even a short-term one. The ICC will be as congested as any other major thoroughfare in the area within a few years, and residents will pay billions of dollars for it.
This is progress? What we need are transportation officials who can see past the next election and own up to the fact that real long-term transportation solutions take time and planning -- often coming to fruition after an elected official is out of office and can take credit for it.