Looking forward to commuting on ICC

Friday, June 16, 2006

Between 1972 and 2002, I lived three-quarters of a mile from the Intercounty Connector master plan alignment (Georgia Avenue interchange). Since 2002, I have lived three-quarters of a mile from the Florida Turnpike (Boynton Beach Boulevard interchange) in Palm Beach County.

In the last four years, the value of my home has doubled. During rush hours, I can hear the dull whine of tires if I listen for the sound. If I go into my home with the doors and windows open I cannot hear any sound from the turnpike. The Florida Turnpike (a toll road) is eight miles west of Interstate 95 (a non-toll road). Both roads run north-south fairly parallel to each other for well over 100 miles. They serve as alternate routes if one road backs up due to an accident.

As one of 13 members of the Montgomery County Citizen’s Advisory Committee on the ICC (between 1994 and 1999), I frequently said that it is more important how you build the road, than where you build the road.

Now that the decision has been made to build it, people must hold State Highway Administration officials accountable to build the ICC in ways that will protect wildlife, forested areas and communities to the greatest extent possible. In sensitive areas, mitigation construction techniques will be 90 percent federally funded. Gasoline tax revenues (18.5 cents per gallon sold) that was generated in Maryland should be spent in Maryland instead of elsewhere.

I look forward to the day that I will be able to travel on the ICC as I commute between my summer condo apartment in Ocean City and my friends and relatives who live in Montgomery County.

Aaron Handler, Ocean City