Sen. Toomey Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Bill To Build Highways In Pennsylvania

Posted on August 4th, 2011

“This is a simple solution that will not cost any additional taxpayer dollars and will help create jobs in Pennsylvania.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) announced today that he has co-sponsored S. 950, which would repeal a ban on states using toll road revenues as matching funds for Appalachian Development Highway System projects.

Congress authorized construction of the Appalachian Development Highway System in 1965, and 2,715.1 miles of the authorized 3,090-mile system were completed or under construction as of September 2010. Allowing states in the Appalachian corridor to use toll road credits as matching funds for the system will speed up the use of already allocated construction dollars for several Pennsylvania infrastructure projects. The ban does not exist outside the Appalachian corridor.

“Several important highway projects in Pennsylvania, including the U.S. 219 extension and the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway, have stalled because Pennsylvania isn’t allowed to use its toll road credits as matching funds. Since states outside the Appalachian corridor can use toll road credits, Pennsylvania should be able to enjoy the same flexibilities. This is a simple solution that will not cost any additional taxpayer dollars and will help create jobs in Pennsylvania,” Sen. Toomey said.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and is co-sponsored by Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md). The bill does not increase any budget authority.

Representative Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) has introduced a companion bill, H.R. 1218, in the House, which has 10 co-sponsors.

State officials in Appalachian Development Highway System areas in Pennsylvania thanked Sen. Toomey for signing on to this important bill:

“I am pleased that Sen. Toomey is providing leadership for the U.S. 219 extension and is strongly in support of federal legislation that will bring the project to fruition. As the Democratic chair of the state Senate Transportation Committee, I know that fashioning a first-rate road system is key to job creation and business development in our region. Many of us have worked long and hard on developing the U.S. 219 corridor and look forward to the completion of this key regional access project,” said State Sen. John Wozniak (D-35th.).

“I applaud the efforts of Sen. Toomey and his colleagues in the Senate and the House to remove the restriction on the use of toll credits which could be used to advance the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway,” said State Sen. John Gordner (R-27th.). “I appreciate the bipartisan and bicameral support that has been expressed by our members of Congress to allow for the construction of this vitally important transportation and economic development project.”

“We applaud Sen. Toomey’s decision to support S. 950, which has been championed by Sen. Casey. This demonstrates the commitment by Pennsylvania’s key leaders in Washington to building the kind of infrastructure that creates jobs and economic growth. As a multi-state organization of civic and business leaders from Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia, the North/South Appalachian Highway Coalition has successfully garnered significant support from our region’s congressional leadership because they understand that this road project is about economic opportunity,” said Somerset County Commissioner John P. Vatavuk (D).