By Ashley Wislock
The Daily Item
SHAMOKIN DAM - A group of state representatives and senators from the region announced this morning that they have received a commitment from the state for $558 million over the next 10 years to fund the construction of the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway project.
The funding will be included as part of the state's 1.8 billion transportation funding plan, which will be considered this year in the state legislature.
During today's press conference at the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce office, state Department of Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch announced that the Corbett Administration, as part of its proposed 2013-14 Transportation Funding Plan, will allocate $558 million dollars for the Valley’s 12.4 mile project over the next 10 years.
The funding plan is proposed as part of the PennDOT Decade of Investment bill, which legislators hope to pass by July 1 with bipartisan support.
“This is an exciting time for our region,” Yaw said. “The CSVT represents the single largest economic development project in the Susquehanna Valley spanning two Senatorial Districts,” Yaw added. “This announcement, together with the recent announcement by Moxie Energy, LLC to build two natural gas power plants in our area, would constitute nearly $2 billion dollars worth of investment in our area. This is historic.”
If approved by the General Assembly, the Department of Transportation plans to fund and construct the CSVT between the Selinsgrove Interchange of US 11/15 in Monroe Township, Snyder County, and the PA 45 Interchange on PA 147 in West Chillisquaque Township, Northumberland County.
“A completed CSVT would be a tremendous boost to our regions freight network,” Yaw added. “In addition to creating significant jobs, the project will most importantly reduce traffic congestion and improve safety for residents and area businesses. Four decades is far too long to see any project begin. I’m hopeful that we can finally make the CSVT a reality.”
The thruway project is designed to bypass non-stop traffic around the “Golden Strip” commercial district in Monroe Township and Shamokin Dam. It would link up with Route 15 near Winfield, where a bridge would carry traffic across the Susquehanna River to Interstate 180, according to orignial designs. The project cost is about 600 million, according to earlier estimates.
The state previous attempted without success to acquire funding from the federal government.
A move by former U.S. Rep. Chris Carney put the Thruway project on a list with the Appalachian Regional Commission by transferring 12.5 Appalachian Development Highway System miles from a corridor in the Philipsburg area.
While the Thruway is eligible for Appalachian funding, previous congressional action limited or capped that funding allocation to an amount less than what the CSVT would cost, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation said.