General Assembly, council members call truce on ICC
Feb. 2, 2000

by Josh Kurtz

Staff Writer

February 4, 2000

ANNAPOLIS -- The Montgomery County Council and leaders of the Maryland General Assembly announced a cease fire Friday in their war of words and deeds over the proposed Intercounty Connector highway (ICC).

In a hastily-arranged State House news conference, legislative leaders and Montgomery County Council President Michael L. Subin (D-At Large) of Gaithersburg said the Council agreed not to take any action to kill the ICC during the next three years. In exchange, ICC supporters in the legislature agreed not to introduce any legislation that would impede the Council's ability to act sometime in the future.

Officials said the agreement -- memorialized in two letters but not cast in stone -- enabled the county and state to reconsider their positions on the ICC after the next state and county elections in 2002.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening announced last September that he would not build the proposed Gaithersburg-to-Laurel highway. The Montgomery Council has declared its opposition to the project but has not taken any formal action to kill it.

"I don't view it as a capitulation at all," Subin said.

The agreement was reached Friday afternoon following two days of intense negotiations between Subin and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Dist. 27) of Clinton.

Subin said he ran the proposal informally by his eight Council colleagues during the past two days, and a majority of them agreed to Miller's terms.

The decision did not require any formal meeting or vote of the Council, however.

Miller was preparing to introduce a bill next week that would have prevented any transportation project from being taken off the books without the consent of the state Board of Public Works. Sen. Jennie M. Forehand (D-Dist. 17) of Rockville and Del. Richard A. La Vay (R-Dist. 15) of Germantown were preparing another bill that would have prevented counties from selling or rezoning land if the land was contiguous to state-owned land, unless both parties agreed.

"It shows once again that a piece of legislation is a vehicle for action," Forehand said Friday.

Miller said 30 of his colleagues had agreed to co-sponsor his bill -- more than enough to pass it through the 47-member Senate. Speaker of the House Casper R. Taylor Jr. (D-Dist. 1C) of Cumberland is also a strong ICC supporter, meaning the bill was certain to pass in the House as well.

Legislators said the agreement with the Council means the Glendening administration can begin to proceed with its plan to build two legs at either end of the proposed ICC route -- from Interstate 370 to Georgia Avenue and from U.S. 29 to U.S. 1 -- even though the Council has signaled its opposition to the western leg.

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