I needed to take a relative from Gaithersburg to Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport a few days ago, and I took the Intercounty Connector (ICC). I was surprised by how lightly traveled the road is and by the three police cruisers enforcing the speed limit.
Why? Why the concentrated enforcement presence when there were hardly any cars on the road? Why enforce a speed limit at all? If Maryland had any marketing sense, instead of enforcing speed limits on a road that few people bother to use, it would rebrand the ICC as an American autobahn. When you are as desperate for revenue as the Maryland Transportation Authority is, you have to think outside the box.
With all the high-performance luxury vehicles in the region, a legal place to open up the throttle and go “whee” surely would generate the kinds of paying drivers who have never materialized based simply on the road’s utility.
Granted, high speeds can be more dangerous than the 60-mph standard, so a reasonable accommodation between safety and exhilaration would be to reduce the speed differentials that cause so many collisions. With three lanes to work with, officials could designate the right lane a 65-mph-and-below zone, the middle lane for drivers who will stay below 90 mph and the left lane for those who’ll go above 90.
With such an opportunity to unwind their capabilities, the Porsches and BMWs will flock to the ICC and start bringing Maryland the kind of revenue it needs to pay for its future transportation plans.
Plus, Virginia doesn’t have an autobahn.
Brian Moore, Bethesda