The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 7, 2013

Business owners: Routes 11-15 bypass will drive local economy

By Ashley Wislock
The Daily Item

---- — SHAMOKIN DAM — With the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway one step closer to reality after a Wednesday’s state Senate vote, the results of a survey reveal that the majority of businesses along the proposed route support the massive transportation project.

About 72 percent of 129 businesses polled along the Routes 11-15 corridor believe the Thruway will improve the economic vitality of the region, according to the study conducted by the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce.

About 45 percent believe the impact of the project will be positive for their business, and 24 percent believe the effect will be very positive, the survey found.

“They realize that the traffic will be reduced and more local people are likely to come out when truck traffic is off of the road,” said Joe McGranaghan, chamber transportation committee chairman and Shamokin Dam mayor.

The 12-mile Thruway has been proposed for more than 40 years, but had always stalled because of funding issues. In April, local government officials announced that the $540 million project was included in the multi-billion dollar transportation funding plan proposed by Gov. Tom Corbett and the state Department of Transportation.

The state Senate approved the bill 45-5 on Wednesday.

“It’s the closest we’ve ever been,” McGranahan said. “Of course now it has to go through the House. ... But I can’t imagine that our project (will be cut) because it is the centerpiece of the bill.”

The survey also asked businesses to submit ideas and comments about the project, McGranahan said. Those answers haven’t been released yet.

Community members have expressed support for the Thruway project, said Snyder County Commissioner Peggy Chamberlain Roup.

“I’ve heard nothing but support all around,” she said.

The Thruway will not only allow businesses to operate more efficiently, Roup said.

It will bring jobs to the community.

“Not only is this going to spark economic growth for the businesses, but the construction of it, the construction companies that will come in to do that work, will create massive numbers of jobs,” she said.