Slots for a toll-free ICC? Brilliant!
The Maryland Transportation Authority has taken appropriate action on the toll structure for the Intercounty Connector, but some of our friends down in Montgomery County are still whining that they want the governor of the General Assembly to intervene so users of the ICC doen't have to pay as much.
Never mind that such an intervention would trash the authority's bond rating and increase the state's cost of borrowing. It's all about Montgomery.
One of the more amusing suggestions for transferring the costs of the ICC from its users to resiidents of Baltimore and other parts of the state comes from long-ago delegate, notorious loudmouth and perennial political wannabe Robin Ficker. On the Maryland Politics Watch blog, he writes: "There is no reason why we can't use a penny of the sales tax and some of the slots money to pay for a toll-free ICC."
Fascinating. So Ficker wants to transfer money from the sales tax -- which is paid by people all over the state to fund education, health, transportation and other vital programs -- to make the ICC less costly for its affluent customer base. Then he wants to tap slots revenue -- all generated at casinos in other people's backyards -- to get it all the way to FREE.
It seems to me that if historically slots-averse Montgomery wants to tap slots revenue to subsidize its $2.6 billion Highway to Heaven, it ought to at least welcome a mega-casino somewhere around the western end of the ICC -- maybe Rockville or Gaithersburg. And how about a discrete, elegant little slots parlor for the convenience of those folks in exclusive Potomac?
I wouldn't take this woe-is-me prattle from Montgomery too seriously, but as long as ideas like that are bouncing around the county, Baltimore residents should keep a wary eye on developments to the southwest.