Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Conservative Defense of HB1416

There has been some consternation about the support of some conservatives for HB1416, which will pull funding for the Intercounty Connector. My longtime friend Delegate Nic Kipke is one of the Republicans who has put his name to the bill, and I asked him why he was supporting it. While I don't agree with his position to pull the funding (delaying the project, in my view will only make it more expensive in the long run), here is his response without any further comment from me:

At first glance, this appears to be out of step with what you'd typically expect from me. However, let me suggest to you that the INTENT of this legislation is completely consistent with my conservative beliefs & record. This legislation is not about Global Warming, it is completely about pressuring the Governor to control state spending.

Here's why:

The ICC is estimated to cost $2,300,000,000 dollars, but the road is only 18 miles long. So the state will be spending $128,000,000 per mile. This cost is exorbitant, even for a project like this. Also, Eminent Domain is being used to procure many properties from private citizens, and while sometimes that is definitely appropriate, in this instance I fear we will be financially devastating approx 200 families. (established communities will suddenly have a major highway running right through it, lowering property values)

Additionally, I cannot in good faith support a project that the state cannot afford. Even after the largest tax increase in Maryland history Maryland faces a $300,000,000 deficit. Also, Maryland is reaching its cap on bond sales which means this project will prevent many other important capital projects from taking place in the rest of the state, including Anne Arundel.

I hope this helps you understand my position. In the interest of full disclosure, I like the idea of the ICC. But I just do not think we can afford it, I am concerned about the impact on the residents in the region, and I am not convinced this is the best place to make a $2.3 billion dollar state investment.

(Crossposted)

2 comments:

Daniel said...

Sounds like the first honest appraisal about the ICC that I have heard in a very long time.

Anonymous said...

Del. Kipke is certainly right about squandering state money in a time of crisis. And on a boondoggle. The ICC seems like a favor to wealthy MOntgomery County that will damage the rest of the state. I don't know why other legislators are tolerating it. The governor seems to have them in his pocket. But what's he giving them in return as they sell out their constituents?

ShareThis