Continental 1 Releases 2015 Action Agenda

Posted on December 9th, 2014

BUFFALO, NY (Dec. 9) – The Continental 1 board of directors today unveiled the organization’s 2015 action agenda, outlining the group’s legislative and collaborative efforts for the coming year in New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

“Next year will be a busy one for the Continental 1 board of directors and supporters of our efforts to complete Route 219,” said Meg Lauerman, Continental 1 executive director. “As local, regional and national infrastructure systems are affected by current initiatives – such as the growth of the natural gas industry, increased trade with Canada through Buffalo and the impacts of the expansion of the Panama Canal on East Coast traffic – Continental 1 is gaining attention as a critical component of Northeast, Midwest and Canadian commercial and personal transportation.”

In New York State, the advocacy group’s efforts will continue to focus on the restoration of $6.7 million in funding for the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) that was previously allocated, but “swept” into the general fund during the state’s budget crisis in 2010. The SEIS is a necessary step toward any additional work to be done on the completion of Route 219 beyond the improvements finished in 2010, which terminate in Ashford Hollow. There is widespread hope throughout the transportation industry that a portion of the state’s $4.8 billion settlement with BNP Paribas will be dedicated to strengthening the state’s infrastructure.

Continental 1’s Pennsylvania and Maryland agendas focus on three primary tracks: (1) collaboration with PennDOT to identify “trouble spots” related to safety or congestion along Route 219 north of I-80; (2) increased stakeholder engagement in communities not currently served by standing Route 219 committees; and (3) “staying the course” in the processes on the two separate projects – 11 miles (construction phase) and 9.5 miles (planning phase) – between Meyersdale and I-68 in Maryland.

“While the mission of Continental 1 remains completion of a 1,500-mile dedicated four-lane highway from Toronto to Miami, from an advocacy perspective that concept is a difficult one for people to wrap their head around with its size and scope, particularly in today’s transportation funding environment,” said Henry Cook, president of Somerset Trust Company and 2015 board president for Continental 1. “Our 2015 agenda reflects the next steps necessary to move the corridor close to that goal, while providing the flexibility to address immediate concerns along Route 219.”

Continental 1 will mark its 15th year in existence in 2015, having successfully advocated for signature projects along the Route 219 corridor, including 28 miles of four-lane, limited access highway in New York between the I-190 and Ashford Hollow, and the Bradford and Johnsonburg by-passes in Pennsylvania.

(click here for Continental 1’s 2015 Agenda)

Continental 1 is the not-for-profit organization charged with advocacy and oversight for the completion of a 1,500-mile trade corridor extending from Toronto to Miami in support of business growth, strategic linkage of communities and faster, safer travel. Continental 1 members represent New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland.