New coalition pushing for funding for local transportation projects

Boalsburg, Centre County, Pa. - There are two major transportation projects in the Centre Region, and a new coalition says they need to rally community and local business' support to help move them forward.

Commuters cruise down the interstate but poor merging designs can slow things down to an unsafe halt.

Jeff Luck, Chair of Centre County's Metropolitan Planning Organization, said the region needs to enhance to major roadways in the county.

"The area of the I-80, I-99 interchange, there's been roughly 200 accidents in the last five years. And on the route 322 segment that's two lanes, there's been two fatalities since I've been a member of MPO," Luck said.

Luck, along with the Centre County Chamber of Business and Industry (CBICC) are launching "Drive Forward," a campaign to rally support for more funding.

First, for a highspeed interchange between I-99 and I-80--To replace a slow middle turning lane.

And for an expansion of Rt. 322--to create four lanes of traffic between Potters Mills and State College.

"These two projects are missing links in the larger transportation network," Luck said.

The campaign is intended to gain support of local residents and businesses, to show the importance of the projects to state representatives.

Lesley Kistner, Vice Pres. of CBICC, said "I think it's important for us to have a strong unified voice and a sustained voice in Centre County."

The I-99, I-80 project's cost is estimated $185 million.

And the Rt. 322 construction is about $500 million.

"Which means they're so expensive that they would absorb all of our transportation funding for many years," Luck said.

He said it's better to gain leverage now in order to better plan out state or federal funding options for the future.

"And the projects have to be completed. The only other option is the projects are never completed and I don't think any of us believe that that's an acceptable option," Luck said.

If you'd like to show your support fort these projects and join the coalition contact Lesley Kistner at CBICC.


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