Passage of the transportation reform legislation by Congress is great news for the local region, said local congressmen, and a Somerset County official welcomed a change that will benefit the Route 219 project.
Calling the legislation an economic engine to drive job creation, U.S. Reps. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, and Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, praised the bill.
“I’m pleased that after nearly three years, we finally have a transportation bill to provide certainty for state and local governments,” Critz said.
The bill will boost American manufacturers and construction workers and protect and create 3 million American jobs while investing in the nation’s economic future, Critz said.
Shuster, a member of the House Transportation Committee, said the bill includes unprecedented reforms to cut federal red tape and bureaucracies, streamline the project delivery system and ensure states greater flexibility in funding most critical needs.
“The critical reforms we have achieved will ensure that we can move forward with transportation projects more efficiently, saving both time and money,” Shuster said.
Good news for 219
Somerset County Commissioner John Vatavuk likewise is pleased with the passage of the bill.
“It’s a great day for America, Pennsylvania and especially Somerset County,” he said. “The toll credit language in the bill opens the door for funding for our (Route) 219 project.”
Critical to the Cambria-Somerset region is the repeal of a provision in 2005 highway legislation restricting the use of toll credits on part of nonfederal funding for Appalachian Development Highway System projects.
The completion of the 11-mile stretch of Route 219 as a four-lane highway from Somerset to Meyersdale has been delayed by the lack of state matching funds and the restriction on toll credit use.