Gov. Larry Hogan dedicated the Intercounty Connecter to former Gov. Robert Ehrlich on Thursday during a ceremony overlooking the highway in the Rockville area.
Ehrlich, a Republican, served as governor from 2003 to 2007 and helped secure federal funding to build the highway that stretches from I-270 in Gaithersburg to Route 1 in Prince George’s County. Hogan served as appointments secretary, a Cabinet position, in Ehrlich’s administration.
Hogan said that when Ehrlich took office, the ICC had been in the planning stages since the 1950s.
“It wasn’t until Gov. Bob Ehrlich made it a top priority of his administration that the ICC moved forward and became a reality,” Hogan said. “Ehrlich had the vision and foresight to realize the transformative effect that this 18-mile link between [Montgomery and Prince George’s counties] would have on the entire region.”
The highway opened in sections from 2011 to 2014. Since its completion, it has been criticized as being underutilized and costly. Its final cost was about $2.4 billion. About two dozen officials attended the ceremony.
Hogan said the highway’s usage has increased from about 30,000 vehicles per day in June 2012 to around 65,000 vehicles per day now.
“Lots of Democrats and Republicans came together to get this done against long odds,” Ehrlich said during the ceremony. He thanked former Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan for supporting the project. “It’s as good as government gets … true professionals coming together and getting something done against long odds to benefit the taxpayers, the people of Maryland.”
Ehrlich said he asked then President George W. Bush at Camp David to help clear federal hurdles to secure funding for the ICC and the administration came through with federal funding shortly after the conversation.
When asked by a reporter how the dedication came about, Hogan said, “It’s something I thought about for a long time. There’s no real magic to the timing right now.”
The state plans to post brown signs along the toll road that say “Dedicated to Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.” One of the signs was unveiled at the ceremony.