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November 21, 2020

Pa. funds $6 million for U.S. 219 project

Credit: The Garrett County Republican

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. David Trone, D-Md., and a coalition of stakeholders from Maryland and Pennsylvania announced Tuesday $6 million in funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for preliminary engineering work on the Pennsylvania portion of U.S. 219, signaling a commitment to beginning construction on the 11-mile corridor connecting Maryland and Pennsylvania within the next 10 years.

Approximately 8 miles of the corridor has yet to be built.

The project will connect U.S. 219 to Interstate 68 in Maryland and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The project is also part of the Appalachian Development Highway System, a system of highways that connects the Appalachian region to major economic hubs. Although first established over 50 years ago under the Lyndon Johnson administration, the network has yet to be completed.

“Completing 219 is about more than a highway, it’s about creating more jobs and economic development and improving safety and travel times,” said Trone. “This funding brings us one step closer to finally completing this vital transportation corridor. I’d like to thank the state and local leaders in Maryland and Pennsylvania for working tirelessly to get this project over the finish line.”

“This is another significant step forward in completing this extremely important project. The economic and safety impacts of this highway have been well documented for both rural Western Maryland and rural southwestern Pennsylvania, and the bipartisan teamwork these two areas have shown over the past several decades now to get this project across the goal line is noteworthy,” said Paul Edwards, chairman of the Board of Garrett County Commissioners. “The opportunity that will be created by this road will be significant, and I thank all those in both states, both present and past, that have had a hand in getting us this far.”

“The Greater Cumberland Committee is delighted that Pennsylvania has taken the next step in advancing the completion of this critical bi-state infrastructure project which will increase safety of all vehicles and offer a faster travel route that reduces overall transportation costs as well as provides significant benefits to the region’s economy,” said Jennifer Walsh, executive director of TGCC. “In a year that has seen many economic challenges, we are incredibly pleased and proud that several significant milestones, including Pennsylvania’s commitment to fund preliminary engineering, have continued to drive this project toward the finish line. We congratulate our many partners who helped make this announcement a reality.”

“We are excited to have been on the call when Secretary Gramian announced the Wolf administration’s commitment to the $6 million that is needed to move the U.S. 219 project forward and complete the final portion of corridor N between Pennsylvania and Maryland,” said Commissioner Gerald Walker of the Somerset County Board of Commissioners. “We would like to thank our partners across multiple states for helping to make this a reality and look forward to continuing our efforts to see this project through to the end. Our sincere thanks to the secretary and Governor Wolf for their commitment to this long overdue project.”

Trone has made the completion of the highway system a top priority in Congress. He helped introduce the Advancing Infrastructure Development in Appalachia Act, which would incentivize states to complete the ADHS and fought attempts to strip this provision from the large infrastructure package the House passed several months ago.