August 7, 2002
Two of the most controversial road projects won't be found in the Council's transportation package.
County Executive Doug Duncan's Go Montgomery plan included the recommendation for the InterCounty Connector and for $400,000 to be used to study another bridge crossing the Potomac River.
The Council voted 5-3 against including the ICC in its transportation package.
Council didn't even include the bridge crossing study in its package to be voted upon; members have expressed unanimous opposition to a new bridge across the river in Montgomery County in the past. Duncan proposed spending $400,000 to match the amount Virginia has allocated, for a study similar to the one U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) canceled after preliminary results determined such a project would destroy hundreds of homes and split dozens of established communities.
Voting for the ICC were Michael Subin (D-At large), Howard Denis (R-1) and Steve Silverman (D-At large). The other Councilmembers — excluding Isiah Leggett's (D-At large) recusal — voted against recommending the ICC, citing its $1.5 billion cost, environmental damage, and their own lack of belief in the effectiveness of the ICC in alleviating traffic congestion.
The Council majority did urge that any study of the ICC be fast-tracked, to achieve closure on this long-debated and fought-over project as soon as possible. It urged any study to include prior study information and to take into consideration environmental, land use and financial implications and that it not interfere with the widening of Maryland 28/198 to four lanes from Rockville to I-95. Prior studies state that the ICC does not meet Federal environmental standards or guidelines, although proponents say it has been in the County's master plan documents for decades.
The Council vote for a Western Corridor project and Eastern Connector project, which would help alleviate east-west traffic congestion.