Any new highway is a pricey endeavor, but a new analysis shows that the actual cost might depend on where in the country the road gets built — and Maryland seems to be costly turf.
Maryland’s InterCounty Connector has cost $2.57 billion compared to $1.43 billion spent on a similar highway built in Texas, according to Peter Samuel who writes the industry publication Tollroads News.
The Sam Rayburn Tollway runs east to west north of Dallas-Fort Worth, much like the ICC does across the Washington region. When finished, the ICC will run from Montgomery County to Prince George's County. Both roads are about the same size, he said.
“The difference is even greater when you get into lane miles,” he writes. The ICC costs nearly $23 million per lane mile, while the Texas highway costs at most $9.2 million per lane mile.
The difference in costs likely isn’t surprising to those who have grumbled about the ICC price tag, which is helping to push up toll rates across the state.
But why is the ICC so much more expensive? Samuel notes that the Texas highway didn’t face the same level of opposition as the ICC, which was delayed for decades. Transportation officials thus didn’t have to add the same levels of environmental protections, such as wildlife underpasses, that are used along the ICC.
Texas also builds more roads so has more competition to bid for projects and fewer union jobs as a “right-to-work” state, he said. And land prices in suburban Maryland top those in wide Texas.