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Tolls went into effect on the Intercounty Connector in Montgomery County one year ago today. Critics of the road said the tolls were too expensive and would prevent drivers from using it, and one critic in particular is still making noise about that view.
County Council member Phil Andrews represents the area where the ICC starts in Gaithersburg, not far from Interstates 270 and 370 and the Shady Grove Metro station.
"It feels like an airport runway a lot of the time," Andrews says. "People can easily count the number of cars a half-mile in front and a half-mile in back of them."
Andrews has long maintained the toll rate on the road would stop people from driving it. Now would be a good time for the Maryland Transportation Authority, which oversees the road, to cut tolls in half, he says.
"Eight dollars a day in tolls are among the highest in the country," Andrews says. So what I'm proposing is cut the tolls in half for a year, and try to double the use and generate the same revenue. But it would get the road used by a lot more people."
Tolling on the road is all automated; drivers must have an E-ZPass to pay. If not, they receive a bill in the mail, but that carries with it a penalty that makes the toll even higher.