Meyersdale man remembers when Route 219 was stopped short the first time

Posted on June 22nd, 2012

Daily American (June 22, 2012)

Rally for Route 219!

Forty years ago Dean Hillegas was frustrated when a road project that he supported lost funding.

Hillegas, a member of the original Route 219 committee, said the funds that were supposed to build the road in the 1970s went instead to a project in Tioga County.

“A group of farmers stepped in and stopped the project,” he said.

The project remains stalled as Congress continues to hash out a transportation bill that includes language to allow toll credits to be used as matching funds for Appalachian highway projects such as Route 219.

“That was a heartbreak that we lost the money,” he said.

Hillegas, of Meyersdale, said that Congress needs to pass a bill with the toll credit language so the project can continue where it left off. He came to Somerset Friday to hear U.S. Rep. Mark Critz talk about the transportation bill.
Before Critz spoke, Hillegas talked with David Moe of the Greater Cumberland Committee. One of the committee’s goals is to complete the North/South Appalachian Highway, which includes Route 219. Moe drove from Garrett County, Md., to hear Critz speak.

“We’ve been on board with the project for several years,” he said. 

Moe said that passing extensions to the transportation bill does not help anyone.

“This is the 10th extension since 2005,” he said. “It is time for them to get something done.”