Benefits of the ICC would outweigh costs
April 27, 2004

Brian Henry, the Audubon Naturalist Society's ICC campaign director ("Is it really worth the cost?" April 7), may have guessed the correct cost of the Intercounty Connector, but it is really hard to be completely confident about costs until the alignment, width and length of the road are decided -- and they haven't been.

And I wonder if Mr. Henry factored into his concern about costs and debt services the near certainty that the ICC will operate as a toll road, which, at a hypothetical toll level of 15 cents per mile for passenger cars, would produce something like $1.75 billion over the first 25 years of its life while generating additional millions annually in state and federal fuel taxes. That is a contribution to the "other transportation projects" Mr. Henry admires, not a drain.

But yes, the ICC will be expensive, however, each day it will benefit tens of thousands of county auto and transit riders and (I hope) bikers. Will those benefits exceed the project's costs? That will be determined by the impact studies now underway, which ICC opponents, like the Audubon Society and the Sierra Club, have tried so hard to subvert.

As a final point, Mr. Henry is probably correct that the ICC will not reduce traffic on Interstates 270 and 95. Those roads run north-south and the ICC runs east-west.

Carlton C. Robinson, Bethesda