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ICC meeting revenue projections, state says

Finance

Nearly two years after opening, the Intercounty Connector is meeting revenue projections for the state as traffic volumes on the toll road continue to build, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority.

Last fiscal year, drivers made 17.2 million trips on the ICC, raising revenue of $39.59 million, according to the audited financial data for fiscal year 2013 released Thursday.

Projections were for revenues of $39.56 million.

Traffic volume on the highway, which cuts east-to-west from Interstate 95 in the South Laurel area of Prince George's County to I-270 in the North Potomac area of Montgomery County, has reached about 40,000 vehicles per day, the MdTA said.

That is an increase of about 75 percent since the road's opening, and volume is continuing to grow at an average rate of about 2.6 percent per month, the authority said.

Traffic is "slightly lower than projected" on the eastern end of the ICC near Laurel, but "significantly higher than projected" at the western end near Potomac, said Bruce Gartner, the MdTA's acting executive secretary.

Drivers are also making longer trips on the ICC than projected, particularly in the west, he said.

James Smith, the state's transportation secretary, said despite being built for 2030 traffic projections and still being in a "ramping up" period — the highway will be extended further east from I-95 to Route 1 by spring 2014 — it has already significantly improved commutes for many in metropolitan Washington.

A study released in June found that the ICC had cut many drivers' commutes in half. In July, a separate study found reducing toll fares would increase traffic volume but decrease revenues, the MdTA said.

According to the 2013 financial data, statewide toll revenues of $65.3 million in 2013 increased by 16.2 percent over 2012, despite a 1.9 percent decrease in traffic volume, thanks to higher rate structures and the ramp-up of traffic on the ICC.

Tolls accounted for 73 percent of the MdTA's overall revenue.

krector@baltsun.com

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