ICC tolls set at low end of range
The Maryland Transportation Authority has come in on the low end of its proposed range of tolls on the Intercounty Connector as it prepares to open the first segment of the highway sometime about the beginning of next year.
The authority announced Friday that it will charge 25 cents per mile at peak traffic periods for a typical passenger vehicle to use the stretch of the ICC between Interstate 270 corridor and Georgia Avenue. That translates into about $1.45 for the full 5.6-mile trip.
The authority board had previously adopted a policy allowing the agency’s executive secretary to set peak rates in a range of 25-35 cents.
The high end of that range would have translated into a peak toll of roughly $6 for a trip between the I-270 corridor and Interstate 95 when the second segment of the highway is opened in late 2011 or early 2012. Those estimates sparked protests from many residents of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, who are expected to be the heaviest users of the ICC.
The authority’s most recent decision, if it continues into effect when the second segment opens, would hold the cost of a peak-time, 270-to-95 toll to about $4.
Executive Secretary Ronald Freeland said the authority took the comments from citizens into account when its set the initials rates. However, he acknowledged that if traffic volumes were to build quickly, the authority could raise its peak rate up to 35 cents a mile without a board vote in order to prevent congestion from building.
The ICC was built under the premise that tolls would rise to whatever level it takes to ensure the free flow of traffic on the highway, which is eventually expected to reach U.S. 1 in the east. The final segment between I-95 and U.S. 1 has been delayed because of costs.
The peak times on the ICC have been set at 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekday. The off-peak tolls, also set at the low end of the possible range, will initially be set at 20 cents a mile, while overnight tolls – from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. will be fixed at 10 cents a mile.
That would put initial tolls for the 270-Georgia Avenue stretch, which is expected to open late this year or early next, at $1.15 off-peak and 60 cents overnight.