FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 30, 2009
SCHUMER SECURES KEY SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE APPROVAL FOR $1 MILLION FOR HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENT IN SOUTHERN TIER
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the Department of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee has approved $1 million to Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board for construction of 5 miles of new interstate highway and Rest Area along US Route 15/ Future I-99 . The funding was approved as part of the Senate Appropriation process, and has been included in the Department of Transportation and Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Bill. The bill was passed out of subcommittee and now will need to be approved by the full Senate Appropriations Committee, after which it will be sent to the Senate floor, and then to the president for signature. Schumer requested that the subcommittee include funding for this project in the bill, and fought hard to ensure that it was included. Clearing the subcommittee is the biggest hurdle in the appropriations process.
“This funding will provide improved access to the Southern Tier and deliver a much-needed shot in the arm to the regional economy,” said Schumer. “While the construction of the highway will employ New Yorkers immediately, its completion will bring the region greater economic opportunity an future growth. I will continue to prioritize the Route 15/I-99 corridor and the significant economic boost that it will bring to New York.”
Route 15 is the major north/south corridor though New York and central Pennsylvania and for the last several years the states have been working cooperatively to upgrade the Route 15 future I-99 corridor. The first mile of new expressway from the state line north to Watson Creek Road in the Town of Lindley, Steuben County was completed on October 1, 2008. There are 5 miles of two-lane highway between the recently completed expressway and the existing four lane expressway south of Corning New York. The 5 mile segment is the missing link to providing a functional 81 mile interstate between I-180 in Williamsport Pennsylvania and I-86 in Corning New York.
Completion of the project is specifically targeted as an important regional priority in the 2009 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). According to a recent study conducted for the Appalachian regional Commission “completion of the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) would yield significant economic benefits for the Appalachian Region and the nation.” The report cited a return of $3 in economic benefits to the nation for every $1 spent to complete this system. Other key findings from the study show that completing the system is projected to create 80,500 jobs and $3.2 billion annual in increased wages, and will generate over $5 billion a year in increased regional economic activity by 2035. In addition, completion of the Route 15/I-99 corridor is not only a major priority for the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board, but it is also a major priority for the Route 15 Safety Coalition, NY I-86 Coalition, Corning Chamber of Commerce, the 19 county Inter-County Association of Western New York, and many individual county governments across the Southern Tier.
Now that the bill has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, it will be sent to the full Senate Appropriations Committee. Following approval by the Full Committee and the Senate, the bill will move towards Conference with the House and then to the President for signature.
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