Shuster Introduces Legislation to Allow Toll Credits to Complete Route 219

Posted on July 26th, 2011

Washington, DC (Tuesday March 29, 2011) – This afternoon, Congressman Bill Shuster introduced legislation, H.R. 1218, to allow toll credits to be used towards the completion of Route 219 in Somerset and Cambria Counties.

“The completion of Route 219 continues to be one of my top priorities for the 9th District,” Shustersaid. “Everyone I meet with understands this critical north-south route will open the door to greater economic development and a higher standard of living for everyone living in Somerset and Cambria Counties and beyond.”

Somerset County Commissioner Jimmy Marker, who has been a key ally on this critical project, said “Bill Shuster has been a tremendous advocate for Route 219 in Congress and he is continuing his long record of leadership on this issue with this legislation.”

Support for the completion of Route 219 is practically unanimous among residents as well as local, state and federal lawmakers.  However, the route remains unfinished due to a change in law that prevented the Appalachian Development Highway System from utilizing toll credits as non-federal matching funds to pay for the completion of the project.

Toll credits are earned when a state like Pennsylvania funds capital highway investments with toll revenues earned on existing toll facilities.  Pennsylvania uses toll credits to increase Federal funding to 100 percent for transportation enhancements. 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.

“Bringing Route 219 from construction to reality will take a minor change in legislation, but that minor change has been a major undertaking,” Shuster added. “It is my hope that the bill I introduced will be adopted by itself, or made part of the new highway bill which is being drafted now in Congress.”

“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Pennsylvania congressional delegation and my colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, of which I am a member,” Shuster concluded.