Add the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce to the list of those in support of lower tolls on the Intercounty Connector.
Marilyn Balcombe, CEO and president of the local Chamber, told The Gazette that the road was supposed to alleviate traffic, not raise revenue.
Gaithersburg is the terminus for the ICC (MD-200), an east-west highway that connects Montgomery and Prince George's counties. The ICC opened in 2011 and is Maryland's first all-electronic toll road.
The Washington Post has reported that the highway cost $2.5 billion to build and that the Maryland Transit Authority had to increase its debt in order to do so.
But ever since, motorists and public leaders have complained that the roadway is underused. About this time last year, Montgomery County Councilman Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg, Rockville) complained that the toll cost too much and that bringing the cost of the toll down could get more people to use it.
Recently, Andrews reportedly told The Gazette that riding on the ICC felt like being on a “private road or airport runway.”
According to Maryland Transportation Authority rates, it costs $8 roundtrip for a regular car to drive from Interstate 370 to Interstate 95 during the morning and evening commute, what are considered peak hours.
That same trip would cost a five-axle truck $48.
The newspaper cited an MTA study that found cutting the toll in half would increase traffic by 50 percent by 2015, though doing so would reduce revenue by about a third—$43.7 million in 2015 as opposed to the expected $65.1 million.
>>> Speak Out: Are ICC tolls too high? Do you think lowering them would get more people to use it?