Opponents lining up to oppose Maryland highway proposal

| 12/26/2002

Despite calls by Montgomery County, MD, Executive Douglas M. Duncan and Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to speed up environmental reviews of a new intercounty connector, the project's future is still uncertain. Opponents, such as Montgomery Council member Philip Andrews of Rockville, have asked the federal government to reject a faster review, The Washington Post reported recently.

The 18-mile, east-west connector would link Interstates 270 and 95, running from Rockville east to Laurel in the Washington, DC, area and costing an estimated $1.3 billion. Outgoing Democratic Gov. Parris Glendening dropped the plan after an unfavorable report from the EPA.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, Andrews said the road would cause too much environmental harm for it to be the subject of an expedited study.

On the same day that Andrews' letter was sent, 13 environmental groups also sent a letter to Mineta, saying President Bush's executive order calling for streamlined environmental reviews was not intended for such a controversial proposal, The Post reported.