Project Profile

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What: The six-lane intercounty connector will cut through 18 miles of parkland and residential communities to link the Interstate 270 and I-95 corridors in Montgomery and Prince George's counties. Tolls will vary to manage congestion.

Cost: Current estimate is $2.4 billion and could rise to $3 billion with financing costs.

History: The highway, one of the most hotly debated transportation projects in the Washington area's history, has been on and off state plans since the 1950s.

Supporters Say: The highway will ease traffic in the suburbs and link the businesses along I-270 to BWI Marshall Airport and Baltimore. A University of Maryland study found that the connector will generate more than 14,000 jobs in Montgomery and Prince George's.

Opponents Say: It's the most expensive highway project in the area, and the cost is bound to go up. It will soak up money that could be spent on smaller but more useful traffic-relief projects. It will do nothing to reduce Beltway congestion.

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