ICC tolls set to maximize revenue
For an interesting take on the Maryland Transportation Authority's plans for toll rates on the Inter-county Connector, check out this article in Toll Road News.
For those unfamiliar with the online publication, Toll Road News is the authoritative source for information on U.S. tolled transportation facilities. Whether you agree with his conclusions or not, editor Peter Samuel, knows the field as well as anyone in the country.
Samuel reports that the authority faithfully followed a consultant's report that suggested that toll rates be adopted with the goal of maximizing revenue. In general, Toll Road News finds that the tolls are high by national standards but not unreasonable given the cost of the project and the affluence of the communities it serves.
Whether the Maryland public will agree is highly questionable.
Previously, I had expressed doubt about the usefulness of public hearings on these toll rates, but having read this article I've changed my mind. It's clear the authority is exercising a considerable amount of discretion in proposing these rates and not just following market forces. The off-peak rates of 20 cents a mile seem particularly aggressive.
So by all means, show up for the public hearings Beltsville Oct. 28 in Beltsville and Oct. 29 in Gaithersburg. Better yet, contact the authority and demand that a third hearing be scheduled in the Baltimore area. The decision to treat the ICC as a strictly local project is a disgrace.