Hogan dedicates improved U.S. 219 section to retiring Sen. George Edwards
Credit: Cumberland Times-News, Greg Larry
Gov. Larry Hogan said an improved stretch of U.S. Route 219 between Interstate 68 and the Pennsylvania state line will be dedicated to retiring Sen. George C. Edwards.
Hogan was in Grantsville Monday afternoon to tout the state’s latest $77 million investment for improvements to Route 219, which will complete upgrades in Maryland. The announcement took place along the highway in the Grantsville Shopping Plaza parking lot.
“This effort involves working together with our federal, state and local governments for a project that will be a major boon for state and local economy,” said Hogan. “We are announcing that we are committing an additional $77 million to complete the U.S. Route 219 extension from Old Salisbury Road all the way to the Pennsylvania state line.”
The total invested in improving the Route 219 extension in recent years has been more than $200 million. The investment will complete the final leg of the connector.
“After 40 incredible years of service Sen. George Edwards is retiring this year, so in addition to today’s announcement that we will be building this final phase, it is also my distinct honor to officially dedicate Maryland’s portion of U.S Route 219 to Sen. George Edwards.”
A large brown road sign was unveiled that reads, “Dedicated to Sen. George C. Edwards.”
Edwards, a Republican who represents Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties, thanked Hogan and all the local officials who helped make the project happen.
“This is the kind of project we like to do when you get all levels of government working together and we’re getting it done,” Edwards said. “When it gets done I think you will see more traffic on there than the studies have said.”
In addition to Hogan and Edwards, numerous officials were on hand, including James F. Ports Jr., Maryland secretary of transportation; Paul Edwards, Garrett County commissioner; and Del. Jason Buckel.
“It takes a lot of years of effort and Sen. Edwards has been at the forefront of most of that effort for 20-some years,” Buckel said. “I think the project will be a good thing for Garrett and Allegany counties. It will support business across the area.”
The Greater Cumberland Committee and consultant Dave Moe have been working for a viable north-south connection for years.
“Finally, it’s coming to fruition,” Moe said. “This will finish it in Maryland. It’s going to help commercial trucking, warehousing and distribution. It will create jobs and will help populate the area. The improvements create a shortcut to the rural areas and metropolitan areas.”
In recent months, Pennsylvania has reiterated its goal of completing its portion of the U.S. Route 219 corridor with a $53 million commitment to fund pre-construction work and the construction phase to its long-term funding plan.
Hogan said the extension is an important part of the Appalachian Development Highway System.
“Investing in roads increases economic development in the region and that is exactly what Larry Hogan is doing across the state in creating proactive solutions to our transportation needs,” Ports said. “Western Maryland plays a pivotal role in supporting our nation’s supply chain.”
Edwards reflected on Monday’s event in a Times-News interview on Tuesday.
“It was truly an honor,” said Edwards. “This project will be a big boon for Garrett and Allegany counties and Somerset County in Pennsylvania. I’d like to thank Dave Moe, Colleen Peterson and Jennifer Walsh. They’ve done a lot of hard work on this project. I’d also like to thank Rep. (David) Trone and Sen. (Ben) Cardin.”