What’s Happening with the Intercounty Connector (ICC)
The ICC is one of those things ever-present in the back of the collective mind, the idea of which has been around for several decades, here in Baltimore. It was shot down in the 80’s and again in the 90’s and you just hope it gets shot down during this decade and never comes back. We have a current Maryland administration that is supposed to be more environmental, why is this issue even being considered?
Our volunteer, Debbie Smith, attended a meeting of the Baltimore Chapter of Chesapeake Climate Action Network (BCAN) Tuesday night February 3rd, 2009. There was a very knowledgeable speaker named Greg Smith who led a “Grassroots Discussion of Maryland Environmental and Transportation Priorities.” He can be reached at Community Research of the Anacostia Watershed Society. – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of the points that he made about the construction of the ICC were:
□ Cost: this could cost close to $4 billion dollars, ($200 million per mile) which will come from:
1. 85% debt financing
2. 750 million in GARVEE debt with 14% interest (Grant Anticipation Revenue –“ imaginary money”)
3. $1.2 billion in toll revenue, paid by drivers which would cost each vehicle 30 cents per mile in 2010, $12 for a round trip, or $2400. per year if used on a daily basis! (and it would not create surplus revenue until 2045!)
4. Money out of the coffers that would be used for other programs such as building schools or libraries, public safety, greening our environment, and providing other less polluting forms of transit, i.e. the red and green lines in Baltimore, the purple line in Montgomery and Prince George’s County, local bus routes (more routes, more often) and Marc train availability. Already, $1.1 billion has been cut from transit and road projects in September and $300 million from education, public safety, health, transit and environmental protection in October, which still leaves a $2.5 billion shortfall in the six-year transportation program and a $400 million deficit in the FY 2009 General Fund and $2 billion in the FY 2010 General Fund.
5. Workers’ salaries that are being furloughed or laid off.
□ Environmental Concerns:
1. Increased driving; approximately 700 million miles per year in the ICC study area, which would increase global warming driving pollution by 20%, not including the extra driving the expected sprawl would trigger, and so on.
2. We are running out of oil in this country while we need to decrease our dependence on foreign oil. 70% of our oil fields are over 30 years old and many of the older ones reached their peak around 1964. There is also a decline in 33 out of 48 of the top oil producing countries. The ICC of course increases the need for that declining supply.
3. Other effects of pollution-Air, land and water, destroying our life forces the air that we breathe and the land and water supplying our food.
4. Habitat destruction; clear cutting forests-nearly 800 acres (which would have helped rid us of the carbon emissions produced by the highway-a double whammy) and bulldozing communities (people and other animals).
5. Triggering more sprawl-about 20,000 acres worth.
□ What can we do to help stop the ICC?
Contact your legislators in the state to cancel the ICC. To find out who your local representatives are go to: www.mdelect.net/