May 11, 2011

CARDIN INTRODUCES BILL TO HELP CONNECT UNDERSERVED APPALACHIAN REGION WITH COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has introduced legislation with Senator Robert P. Casey (D-PA) to help facilitate the completion of the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS), which serves as a critical link between the geographically isolated Appalachian region and major commercial corridors.  Construction of the ADHS was authorized in 1965 by Congress and is 88 percent complete.  The remainder of the highway must be constructed in the mid-Atlantic portion of Appalachia and difficult terrain makes construction expensive.    

Current federal law prohibits Appalachian States from using road toll revenues as matching dollars for ADHS projects. During these particularly challenging economic times, Appalachian states need the flexibility regarding revenues to complete the highway system, including toll credits. The ADHS Toll Credit Prohibition Repeal Act would repeal this statutory prohibition, allowing states in the Appalachian region to use toll credits as matching funds for projects critical to the completion of the highway system.  

“Completing the Appalachian Development Highway System is crucial to creating jobs and strengthening Maryland and the Appalachian region’s economy,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Budget and Finance committees.  “Repealing the ban on using toll revenues to finance ADHS construction gives states the tools to leverage funds to complete this important highway system and will help bring future jobs and economic activity to Western Maryland.”

“This bill will build Pennsylvania infrastructure and create jobs,” said Senator Casey.  “Unlocking existing unspent balances among state transportation agencies will allow Appalachian Development Highway Systems to move forward and for work to be finished on Route 219.” 

In 1965, Congress authorized construction of the ADHS to generate economic development in previously isolated areas, connect Appalachia to the interstate system, and provide access to areas within the region as well as to other parts of the nation. The ADHS is currently authorized at 3,090 miles. By the end of FY 2010, 2,715.1 miles were complete or under construction. 

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