More progress has been made in the past 10 years than in the 40-year history of the effort.
Since 2010, Continental 1 outreach efforts have involved over 143 presentations to chambers of commerce, service organizations, and legislators; attendance at 104 meetings and conferences; and over 21 meetings and strategy discussions with other trade corridor and associations. A key accomplishment was the hosting and execution of the first-annual Continental 1 conference, which included over 20 speakers and panelists, and over 75 attendees. Editorial board meetings, and many press announcements, media releases, support request letters and social media posts have been made. The website has drawn 154,882 visitors.
The draft multi-modal Transportation Development Strategy (draft Strategy) for the Niagara to GTA Corridor Planning and Environmental Assessment Study was released in March 2011 for review and comment. Over the past number of years, MTO has undertaken a significant amount of technical, forecasting and strategic planning work in the Niagara, Hamilton and Halton areas. The need for a transportation corridor study was identified because of its strategic location in providing an efficient link between the GTA and the U.S. borders in Niagara Region. This planning work has indicated that the existing transportation system does not have the capacity to support the planned population and economic growth of the area from the Niagara Peninsula to the Greater Toronto Area. The Niagara to GTA transportation corridor not only serves the residents in the study area and the GGH, but also plays a pivotal role in ensuring an efficient goods movement network that connects the GGH to the rest of Ontario and to the U.S. market. This corridor is also a key component of the Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor initiative.
The draft Transportation Development Strategy includes a suite of elements including optimizing the existing network, additional transit alternatives, selective highway widening, and longer term recommendations for new highway facilities.
This report is currently available and can be downloaded from the link below. Comments received following the review period will be taken into consideration and included as a part of the public record. http://www.niagara-gta.com/Reports.php
New York 219 Status
First Phase of 219 expansions was completed in 1979 and included 24 miles from I-90 south to Springville, NY.
Second phase is under construction now and includes 4 miles south of Springville. This $ 121 million expansion of section 5 includes a dual span bridge. The expansion was completed in October 2010.
Route 219/C-1 has been identified as a transformational project by the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council’s (REDC) Binational/Logistics Working Group and cited by 84% percent of Western New Yorkers as a high priority, completion of Route 219 and Continental 1 will mean new jobs, economic development, international connection and safe roads.
Toll credit language is included in the federal transportation re-authorization legislation expected to pass in January. The passage of this bill will release $350 million in construction financing to complete the Somerset portion of Route 219.
Northern Pennsylvania 219 Status
In McKean county, the Bradford By-Pass Upgrade opened in fall of 2010. The 5.5 miles upgrade cost $92 million.
Mid-Pennsylvania (Johnsonburg) 219 Status
Construction began on Phase I of the Johnsonburg Bypass in April 2006 and concluded in November 2007. Construction on Phase II, which completed the highway, began on March 24, 2008. The $32 million project was completed on September 21, 2010.
Southern Pennsylvania 219 Status
In April, 2011, Congressman Mark S. Critz (PA-12) introduced the Corridor N Extension Act of 2011. This bill would extend Corridor N (US Route 219) of the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) from its current northern terminus at Corridor M (US Route 22) in Ebensburg to Corridor T (I-86) near Salamanca, New York. By extending Corridor N north, Route 219 would be eligible for ADHS money to develop the road as a multilane freeway, with interchanges at appropriate crossroad locations. The ADHS has helped to develop US 219 in Cambria and Somerset Counties, and has also aided in developing other highways throughout Pennsylvania. Congressman Critz has also cosponsored cosponsor of H.R. 1218, which would repeal the toll credit language.
Also in Southern Pennsylvania, Congressman Bill Shuster (PA-9) introduced an important legislation to allow toll credits to be used towards the completion of Route 219 in Somerset and Cambria Counties. The last highway bill, which was signed into law in 2005, prohibited the use of toll credits for routes in the Appalachian Development Highway System, which Route 219 is a part of. Shuster’s legislation would remove the prohibition.
Maryland and West Virginia 219 Status
In May 2011, Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland collaborated with Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania to introduce a bill that would help facilitate the completion of the Appalachian Development Highway System, in which Route 219 plays a important part. The bill would repeal the ban on using toll revenue to help fund highway projects. A study by Frostburg State University in Maryland shows that if that section of highway is completed, 2,400 to 2,600 permanent jobs would be created because businesses would be attracted to the area.