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Maryland Moves To Cut 60% Of Bus Service Along Intercounty Connector

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Maryland is holding public hearings on a proposal to cut bus service along the Intercounty Connector.
WAMU/Jessica Jordan
Maryland is holding public hearings on a proposal to cut bus service along the Intercounty Connector.

The Intercounty Connector was sold to the public as a highway to carry cars and buses between Montgomery and Prince George's counties. But fewer buses may soon be running along the roadway.

The reason the Maryland Transit Administration wants to shut down bus routes 202, 203 and 205 is simple: lack of riders. For instance, the 203, which runs between Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda and Columbia, averages 15 passengers a trip.

But critics of the state's decision to spend at least $2 billion building the 18-mile ICC say cutting the routes is a bait-and-switch.

"They sold the ICC to the public and the federal agencies as a multi-modal facility even though it was clear it was really an interstate highway to connect to other interstate highways," says Greg Smith, co-director of Community Research, a Maryland government watchdog group.

He says Maryland Transportation Authority's ICC traffic projections are also falling short—by five million total trips this fiscal year. "This road was going to cost too much in all terms and provide virtually no benefit," he says.

The MdTA says traffic volume IS meeting projections. The first of three public hearings on the bus routes takes place tonight in College Park.

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