ICC backers, opponents clash
Oct. 29, 1997




As County Council members met to decide the county's official stance on the Intercounty Connector Tuesday, business leaders and citizens groups clashed over the proposal.

The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce -- long an ICC supporter -- submitted to the council a list of 18 top business executives who support the ICC. It was the first time executives from such major companies as Marriott International, NationsBank and Pepco had come out in favor of the project.

In competing news conferences outside the Stella B. Werner Council Office Building in Rockville, leaders on both sides shopped the merits and drawbacks of the controversial $1 billion highway proposal.

Holding banners and distributing candy to portray the proposed highway as a "Halloween trick," about 65 members of anti-ICC groups held a rally, calling on the council to reject ICC plans and to "explore non-highway alternatives" to the county's east-west transportation woes.

Barney Evans of Silver Spring, co-chair of the Montgomery Intercounty Connector Coalition, charged pro-ICC groups with "political intimidation," saying they "used high-priced surveys, dependent on biased questions, to fabricate the idea that the majority of residents support the ICC."

Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce president Ronald E. Resh -- frequently booed and interrupted by the opposition -- said, "It's no secret that the business community in Montgomery County, in the region, and throughout the state are in favor of the ICC."

"Not in Burtonsville," yelled opponents.

"We trust the council will act accordingly," Resh told reporters.

Resh also announced that the chamber would "serve as the focal point for collecting written expression of support from the silent majority of citizens who favor the construction of this transportation project."

"We're all here and we're not silent," yelled an onlooker.

"Eighteen people in support? I've collected hundreds of petition signatures from people. None of them support this project," said Debby Poole of Burtonsville.

The other businesses signing the chamber letter were Carterair International Corp.; Earl Palmer Brown Companies; Rodgers & Associates; IDI-Maryland; The Driggs Corp.; Carey Winston; Wilkes, Artis, Hedrick & Lane; Host Marriott Corp.; Potomac Inc.; the Washington Area New Car Dealers Association; Host Marriott Services Corp.; Linowes and Blocher; Natelli Communities; Clark Construction Group; and Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy & Ecker.