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June 24, 2021

Trone, Palmer, Manchin, Portman, Casey Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Finish Appalachian Development Highway System


June 24, 2021


Hannah Muldavin (Trone):

Elizabeth Hance (Palmer): 

Trone, Palmer, Manchin, Portman, Casey Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Finish Appalachian Development Highway System

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives David Trone (D-MD) and Gary Palmer (R-AL), along with U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Bob Casey (D-PA), introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Finish the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) Act which would provide $1.75 billion in dedicated funding over 5 years for the network of transportation corridors across Appalachia for the first time since 2012.

“It’s about time we finish Route 219 in Western Maryland and finally complete a highway system that was established in 1965 to connect Appalachia to the interstate system,” said Congressman Trone. “Bringing together both chambers and parties to finish this integral piece of infrastructure has been one of my top priorities in Congress, and I’m glad we are finally getting this funding across the finish line.”

“Completing the Appalachian Development Highway System is critical for the continued development of the Appalachian economy,” said Congressman Palmer. “This bill will provide much needed funding to spur completion of the system and will be essential for continued construction of the Birmingham Northern Beltline in my district. Currently, Birmingham is one of the few major cities in the U.S. that does not have a complete, connected interstate route to serve its metropolitan area. I’m grateful to Representative Trone for his work on this legislation and to Senators Manchin and Portman for their work in the Senate, and I look forward to continuing to work with them on this issue until the ADHS is completed.”

 “West Virginia was recently ranked as one of the worst states for our interstate roads and bridges – it’s clear our infrastructure needs an investment. Since I served as Governor of West Virginia, we have worked hard to complete Corridor H, our last remaining section of the Appalachian Development Highway System, including directing nearly $165 million in federal funding over the past three years, but we can’t do it alone,” said Senator Manchin. “Our bipartisan legislation would return the ADHS funding to its pre-2012 levels to ensure that the highway system can be completed soon to connect Appalachia to the east coast and the rest of the nation. President Biden has made infrastructure investments a cornerstone of his presidential agenda, and this is the perfect opportunity to make good on the promise made to Appalachia so many years ago.”

“Since its creation in 1965, the Appalachian Development Highway System has created thousands of miles of highway, creating jobs and bringing important economic development to rural parts of Ohio and the rest of Appalachia. Unfortunately, the portion that remains incomplete is difficult to build and expensive” said Senator Portman. “I am pleased to be introducing this bipartisan legislation with Senator Manchin, so that the System may finally be completed and hard to reach places in Appalachia are no longer hard to reach.” 

In the 1960s, one in three Appalachians lived in poverty, with per capita income 23% lower than the U.S. average at the time. At the time, Appalachia was isolated from much of the country, having been largely bypassed by the Interstate Highway System. The ADHS was signed into law in 1965 by President Johnson to build 3,090 miles of highway. As of FY 2021, 91.1% of the system is under construction or open to traffic, with only 276 miles left to go. According to the ARC, the full cost of completion for the ADHS is roughly $9.7 billion. Its completion would create 47,000 jobs and facilitate billions more in goods and services throughout Appalachia. Every $1 invested in the ADHS yields an estimated return of $7.10.

Since its inception in 1965, the ADHS has generally received specifically dedicated funding for its construction from Congress on a yearly basis. However, in 2012, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and its successor, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, no longer provided dedicated ADHS funds to States’ Departments of Transportation, and many projects languished. States were permitted to build and complete ADHS corridors at their own discretion per a more general federal allocation. Unfortunately, states focused on less costly, more immediate projects. The purpose of ADHS was to build in isolated areas in Appalachia –places that were difficult, expensive, and hard to reach. Dedicated federal funding is the only viable solution to finishing the last few portions of this critical network.

 Bill text can be found here.

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Appropriations, Veterans’ Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees in the 117th Congress and previously served on the Education and Labor and Foreign Affairs Committees. In Congress, Trone is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the mental health and addiction crises, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.