ICC is no long-term congestion solution
July 20, 2004

The good news is Maryland Department of Transportation boss Robert L. Flanagan has found a rapid transit corridor where he won't push "bus rapid transit" (BRT) over the objections of locals who prefer rail. The bad news is it means he won't push anything at all.

Forget about sabotaging three light rail lines in Maryland, threatening another in D.C. and endangering Metro extensions in both Maryland and Virginia (hardly the way to reduce congestion, sabotaging transportation routes, but I digress). Just think about this one issue for a minute. If it would be used for transit, Flanagan can't even be bothered to tack on a single lane to portions of road that are already being torn up and expanded anyway. He refuses to spend a few million on a transit project mostly paid for by the locality, but has plenty of cash for a billion-plus dollar highway project along a similar corridor.

I used to support the Intercounty Connector, but recent actions by the Ehrlich administration have made it clear -- building this one highway will bankrupt the state's ability to make any serious improvements elsewhere. The choice has become "ICC and nothing else" or "everything but the ICC." I'll take everything else. So should anyone with a genuine interest in reducing long-term congestion.

J. Daniel Malouff, Arlington, Va.

The writer is an urban planner who lived in Gaithersburg for 10 years.