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From the Desk of
State Senator Richard Alloway

Transportation dollars strengthen infrastructure, economy

(12/14) Economic development and infrastructure enhancements have been priorities during my six years as your state senator representing the 33rd district.

The state Senate and House recently passed a comprehensive transportation bill to fix our crumbling infrastructure and I supported Act 89, because investing in our roads and bridges is a core function of government and it had to be done.

Pennsylvania is currently among the worst states in the nation when it comes to the conditions of our roads and bridges. Report after report cites the pressing need to upgrade our infrastructure. Pennsylvania leads the nation with 6,500 structurally deficient bridges. Approximately 36 percent of Pennsylvaniaís major roads are rated in poor or mediocre condition.

As part of the package, the transportation fund is budgeted for $97 million this year, and it increases annually to $144 million in 2018. I would like to especially thank PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch for his vision and commitment to this area. Schoch, a Biglerville High graduate, toured the 33rd district with State Rep. Dan Moul and myself back in February, where he got a first-hand look at our transportation needs.

Iím pleased to announce that, as a result of Act 89, six transportation projects in the 33rd district are receiving more than $5.7 million from PennDOT. These grants underscore the diverse transportation needs throughout the region, and Iím very pleased to see these projects move forward with financial support from the Commonwealth. The grant money awarded will not only improve public safety with much-needed infrastructure upgrades, but it will also help spur increased economic activity by opening up new areas for development.

As part of the $5.7 million allocation, the shortfall in the Steinwehr Avenue streetscape project in Gettysburg has been eliminated. The Borough of Gettysburg is receiving $495,192 to relocate utility poles, install light fixtures, street furniture, a bus shelter, and landscaping.

This is good news for the business owners along the pedestrian corridor. Further, in light of increased suburban growth in Adams County, these improvements are a critical step to address the challenge of new residential and commercial development, while preserving the historic, small-town charm of Gettysburg.

Chambersburg Borough is receiving $2.4 million to extend St. Paul Drive to connect with Parkwood Drive; extend Parkwood Drive to connect with Kohler Road and Grand Point Road intersection in Greene Township; as well as upgrades to Norland and Fifth avenues. Upon completion, this expansion will provide numerous new, technical job opportunities and will further support the local economy. Chambersburg Health Services is a growing healthcare enterprise, and is quickly becoming a regional center; providing access to medical specialists and services in a rural region of the Commonwealth.

The Borough of Waynesboro is receiving $500,000 to resurface a one-quarter mile segment of Welty Road, which serves as a southern bypass route; and the reconstruction of Fairfiew Avenue, a heavily-utilized access road for truck drivers, residents, and buses. These two projects are vital to the on-going economic expansion in the Greater Waynesboro area; as many new commercial enterprises, as well as residential developments are being established in the community. The currently used main roads through Waynesboro are overburdened and at peak capacity.

Washington Township in Franklin County is receiving $2 million to fund the construction of 3.13 miles of the Washington Township Blvd, from PA 997 to Old Forge Road (Route 2007). By opening up an alternative route through Waynesboro, the Washington Township Boulevard will allow for a quicker and efficient flow of goods from Interstate and rail locations to the Rouzerville Commercial District. The Waynesboro/Washington Township area is an emerging leader in economic growth; attracting numerous business and employers to the area and the Boulevard will only further serve to encourage additional growth in the area.

Shippensburg Township is receiving funding for two projects: a $154,374 investment will help construct the final half-mile segment of a surface transportation improvement project at Shippensburg University, completing a connector road between the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center, the Conference Center at Shippensburg University, the Courtyard Marriott, the Downtown Shippensburg Commercial District, and the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail.

An additional $750,000 was allocated to realign Cramer Road at Exit 29 of I-81 to assist traffic, enhance safety and provide access to a proposed 1.1 million square-foot industrial commerce park. Construction of new warehousing and support infrastructure will create upwards of 500 new jobs in the region and bring back millions of dollars into the local and state economy.

The Iron Springs Plaza project in Fairfield received $700,000 from the fund to upgrade Fairfield Road and Iron Springs Road for increased vehicular traffic expected with the construction of a new commercial shopping center. This project is expected to bring more than 100 jobs to the area over the next 10 years.

These projects will certainly have a positive impact in terms of improving traffic flow, reducing congestion, bolstering public safety, and highlighting some of the best aspects of our communities. The grants were awarded as part of the Multimodal Transportation Fund Program. A total of 86 projects received funding totaling $84 million statewide.

The state legislature adopted Act 89 in 2013, which is a five-year $2.3 billion plan that allocates money for highways and bridge projects. Additionally, the transportation package directs funding toward a multi-modal transportation fund to underwrite aviation, freight and passenger train, ports, waterways, bicycle and pedestrian projects.

I encourage municipal officials and planners to continue to work with your county-wide Transportation Planning Organizations to ensure that your projects are ready for the next steps.

Every community in the state has unique transportation challenges in terms of dealing with traffic congestion, dangerous intersections, and highway and bridge repair. Thankfully, as the grant allocations indicate, the state recognizes the importance of infrastructure and economic development in the 33rd district.

For more information about Act 89 and how it helps Pennsylvanians, I encourage you to visit my website: www.senatoralloway.com

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