ICC drive could save weeks in commute time

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2006

In her Jan. 25 letter, Colleen Martin suggests The Gazette needs to do better homework. Ms. Martin guides us through how The Gazette did not compare apples to apples when The Gazette claims the toll for the Intercounty Connector is comparable to Metro fares.

She argues a total cost of vehicle ownership for miles traveled must be added on to the cost of driving for an accurate comparison.

I tend to agree with her but also believe we can benefit from comparing the proposed ICC with the status quo.

The proposed route from end to end is about 36 miles round trip. Current commuters face a trip of about 58 miles if using the Beltway. Using her cost basis of 48 cents per mile, the new route will save drivers $10.56 per day.

Assuming a 265-day work year that’s a real savings of $2,798.40 per year. Even with ICC tolls projected annually, the new route would still cost almost $1,300 less each year than the current commute.

Let’s not stop the comparison there though. The current average commute is 76 minutes roundtrip. Under the new route it would be 46 minutes. Annually, that’s a savings of 132 hours, or more than three work weeks. Those are the real missing figures.

John McLean, Gaithersburg