Montgomery official urges O'Malley to cut ICC tolls

By Miranda S. Spivack
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 18, 2009; 4:46 PM

Montgomery County Council member Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg-Rockville) urged Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) on Friday to reduce the toll rates for the Intercounty Connector that were approved by the Maryland Transportation Authority on Thursday.

The rates, 10 to 35 cents per mile for two-axle vehicles depending on the time of day, would be the highest in the Washington region and among the most expensive in the country.

The MTA-approved toll rates would be as much as $12.30 for a rush-hour, end-to-end, round-trip commute on the ICC, whose first section is scheduled to open in late 2010. The east-west highway will run between Gaithersburg and Laurel.

"I am writing to request that you use the full power of your office to reverse this decision. If unchanged, the high tolls will prohibit drivers from using the road, thereby ensuring that the $3 billion ICC fails to take significant traffic off local roads," Andrews said in his letter.

"Whether the ICC becomes an historic boondoggle because of chronic under use is up to you. Whether the ICC becomes the embodiment of regressive public policy is up to you. The ICC will be your legacy," the letter said.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company