Urban Fold

In Maryland, a Highway Built on Hype is "Stuck in Neutral"

Stretching through suburban Maryland, the Intercounty Connector was sold on promises of boosting development and relieving congestion. Two years after it opened, users are few, while its drain on state transportation finances continues to grow.

"The 18.8-mile [Intercounty Connector]—the first stretch of which opened two and a half years ago after great hype and amid great controversy—is the road less traveled," reports Eugene L. Meyer. "Traffic counts are well below early projections, and revenue from tolls—needed to pay off the bonds that were sold to build the road—is far less than originally anticipated."

"The story of the ICC is a bit like the invasion of Iraq, a march to war in which the highway hawks—developers, development lawyers and contractors—held sway while critics were ridiculed as knee-jerk tree huggers and opponents of economic growth," writes Meyer. "The ICC is the Pac-Man of roads, critics charge, eating up all the transportation dollars in sight, now and for years to come."

Full Story: The Road Less Traveled

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