U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Gov. Martin O’Malley on Feb. 21 announced the opening of the first segment of the Maryland Intercounty Connector (ICC) between I-370 at Shady Grove Road and Georgia Avenue/Maryland 97 in Montgomery County. The ICC is expected to relieve the area’s growing congestion, resulting in less travel time for commuters and removing traffic from already clogged local roads.
“The new Intercounty Connector will promote business and employment opportunities in Maryland by improving the mobility of goods and people,” said Secretary LaHood. “It is a terrific example of how a targeted transportation investment can help build for the future and strengthen America’s economic competitiveness.”
When completed, the ICC will link I-270 and I-95 with an 18-mile, east-west electronic toll road connecting Montgomery and northwestern Prince George’s counties. The unveiling of the first segment also marks the first instance of electronic tolling in Maryland. Drivers on the ICC will pay tolls electronically to avoid waiting at tollbooths, and tolls will vary throughout the day according to traffic levels.
“The project is making it possible for people living in different counties to have better access to jobs and forge business and economic links,” Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said.
The overall project cost is $2.56 billion, with $516 million coming from a U.S. DOT TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) loan, $750 million from GARVEE (Grant Anticipated Revenue Vehicle) bonds, $19 million from other federal funding and the remainder from state funding sources.