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The ICC Enters the Governor's Race

Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan is accusing his opponent for the Democratic nomination for governor, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, of "waffling" over whether the Intercounty Connector should be built.

The building of the proposed east-west highway, which would link Interstate 270 in Montgomery with Route 1 Prince George's County, has been one of Duncan's top priorities. Duncan's stance has angered ICC opponents, many of whom live in Montgomery and are backing O'Malley.

But Duncan's campaign is trying to neutralize ICC opponents enthusiasm for O'Malley. "What has O'Malley told you today about the ICC? Because he's saying a lot of different things, depending on who he is talking to," the Duncan campaign said in a statement it sent to the media and several dozen ICC opponents Thursday.

O'Malley has generally supported the highway over the years. O'Malley reaffirmed his support for the project, which is a cornerstone to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s (R) transportation agenda, Monday during a meeting with the leaders of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.
But Duncan's campaign says O'Malley appeared to discount the importance of the highway a week earlier during a discussion with voters at Leisure World.

O'Malley, according to a transcript supplied by the Duncan campaign, said the project is a "mixed bag and presents a lot more problems than it currently solves. O'Malley was referring to the Ehrlich administration's proposal to make the highway a toll road and concerns that it could harm the environment.

Hari Sevugan, an O'Malley spokesman, offered up this explanation to Duncan's charges that the mayor sends different messages to different audiences . "The mayor has been a supporter of the ICC for over six years. But unlike others, he does not believe one road in one county is a solution to all of Maryland's transportation" problems, Sevugan said.

Tim Craig

By Phyllis Jordan  |  March 9, 2006; 6:34 PM ET
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