Governor's fire sale

ICC: Glendening's hot opposition to highway doesn't entitle him to unload land purchased for project.

September 28, 1999

APPARENTLY, it's not enough for Gov. Parris N. Glendening to make sure the 17-mile Intercounty Connector doesn't get built on his watch.

The governor is also trying to dispose of $25 million worth of land set aside for the road -- just to make sure no future chief executive is able reconsider his decision.

That's a ridiculous way to conduct the public's business, and the state's other top officials are correct to question the governor's need for such reckless haste.

Comptroller William Donald Schaefer and Treasurer Richard N. Dixon -- both members of the Board of Public Works, which must approve any land sale -- already announced they will oppose any sale of the ICC land that comes before the board. Speaker of the House Casper R. Taylor Jr. and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller also oppose any quick disposal of the property.

It's bad enough that the governor has chosen to ignore business, state and county leaders -- including two potential 2002 gubernatorial candidates -- who support the connector. Will he now flout the political forces who seek a halt to his fire sale of the land?

Obviously, Mr. Glendening has the right to oppose the route -- however misguided that may be -- during his administration, but he cannot speak for all branches of government or preclude officials from changing this decision in the future.

If Mr. Glendening is confident he made the right decision -- one that could withstand the scrutiny of time -- he should leave the property alone, and let future executives reach their own conclusions about a road nearly everyone else seems to want.

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