Montgomery County Councilman Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg) has proposed that the state of Maryland cut the tolls on the Intercounty Connector by 50 percent.
Andrews, who is running for County Executive, believes the roadway is underutilized, and if tolls were cut significantly, more traffic would use the ICC.
After 50 years of planning, debate and construction, the Intercounty Connector finally began opening (in segments) in 2011.
But largely because of the lengthy delay, the only financially viable option for the roadway was its construction as a toll road. The variable tolls are often pricey. Even in the middle of the day, (with an EZ Pass), for cars, it can cost more than $3 for a full, one-way trip.
The one-way rush hour cost for cars is about $4, and for trucks, the tolls are far higher.
"Cut tolls in half," suggests Councilman Andrews. "Because $4 a day (each way), $8 a day (round trip) is just too much. Cut them in half, double the traffic. You double the traffic, I think you raise the same amount of revenue, and you make this highway a much more useful road, not only for the people on it, but for the roads that the cars come off of."
The Maryland Transportation Authority says daily traffic on the ICC is growing at the rate of three percent per month, and first-year revenues came in a million dollars higher than the Authority's projection.
The MTA also said in a statement, the toll roadway's purpose is to provide "relatively congestion-free travel with reliable travel times."
A spokesman for the MTA said the agency would respond directly to Councilman Andrews' letter suggesting the cut in tolls.