Viewpoints on ICC tolls
Tolls discourage use of ICC
I am writing in response to the Jan. 13 letter to the editor, "ICC tolls appropriate and will benefit the entire state" by Ronald L. Freeland of Baltimore. Freeland is the executive secretary of the Maryland Transportation Authority, and in his letter he tries to portray the planned highest tolls in the nation as reasonable.
This letter entirely misses the point. Freeland argues that tolls are needed to keep the ICC congestion free. We should instead have no tolls and promote the maximum use of the road to alleviate the traffic from our other roads. His claims that tolls are allowing the state to deliver the road sooner are specious. This road should have been built 30 years ago, but wasn't because of lack of political will, combined with anti-growth advocates' usage of environmental studies as weapons of obstruction.
By making the ICC the highest toll in the nation, the transportation authority has made this a road that folks will not use and has also created a way for the rest of the state to get cash out of Montgomery and Prince George's counties' citizens.
I have an idea why don't we make the road Freeland commutes on a toll road? What is good for the Montgomery goose should be good for the Baltimore gander.
Freeland's letter is another example of government bureaucrats serving us chicken-stuff and trying to pass it off as chicken salad. These tolls sure don't smell like chicken salad.
Jim Creegan, Damascus
Many reasons to steer clear of ICC
It may be that the toll rate is appropriate given the needs Ronald L. Freeland describes ["ICC tolls appropriate and will benefit entire state," Jan. 13]. I, however, will state categorically that you won't find me on the ICC unless I'm in an ambulance being taken to the hospital. My reason is a bit more personal, however. Philosophically, I don't trust big brother, liberal government to keep my personal information personal. Government has proven over and over again that they can't do it or are unwilling to do it.
Using an E-ZPass opens my travel to continuous tracking by that which I don't trust. Having to pay an extra $3 if I don't use an E-ZPass would drive up the effective toll for the "average 6.6-mile" trip from between $1.65 and $2.35 to between $4.65 and $5.35 an effective rate of between 70 cents per mile and 81 cents per mile during peak periods, which is not acceptable. I believe the ICC will lose many drivers who either don't use E-ZPass or are simply unwilling to pay this premium (like me). Do we have a statistic on how many Montgomery County or Prince George's County drivers have an E-ZPass? How many shifted accounts to Delaware when the Maryland annual fee went up?
Laurence Myers, Silver Spring
Deception part of ICC development
Apparently, we are still raking a dead issue over the coals ("ICC tolls appropriate and will benefit entire state," Jan. 13). This road is a done deal and I assume that Ronald Freeland's letter is in response to some guilt on the part of the transportation authority. The fact is that the toll system was not publicly announced until after the road was locked in; if it was, then it was known only to a special few. This deception is a forerunner to the vision of development all along the trajectory of the ICC, which we have been assured will not happen. But Konterra, at the very least, is the evidence. Once the road fails to pull in the bucks, tolls or not, the fastest way to rectify the situation will be to lease the land to 7-Eleven, McDonald's and Wal-Mart. In Freeland's mind, that is how we will "all benefit." Welcome to your future.
David Plihal, Silver Spring