Congressman Mark S. Critz (PA-12) will join Cambria and Somerset County residents this Friday, June 22, 2012, at 3:30 p.m. on the steps of the Somerset County Courthouse in rally of support for Congress to pass a new transportation bill before the current law expires on June 30, 2012.
"Congress has extended the transportation bill nine-times since 2005, creating uncertainty with infrastructure programs and costing American jobs," said Congressman Critz. "The Senate passed a two-year transportation bill earlier this year with strong bipartisan support from both Democrats and Republicans, and the House and Senate agreed to work on a compromise bill. The current extension expires June 30, 2012 and we've never been closer in the past three years, then we are right now, to getting a new transportation bill."
Yesterday, Congressional leaders met with House and Senate Members working on the new transportation bill and urged them to complete work on the compromise bill so that it can be passed before the June 30th deadline.
"We are at the height of construction season and a new transportation bill would invest billions-of-dollars into our crumbling infrastructure while putting hundreds of thousands of Americans to work," added Congressman Critz. "A new transportation bill (not an extension) would also most likely include a repeal of the toll credit language - important for our region because it would allow us to finally complete 219 South. That being said, we must insist that Congress does what's right for our economy and for the American people -- complete work, and pass, a new transportation bill."
Earlier this year, Congressman Critz sent a letter to House Committee on Transportation Chairman John Mica urging him to repeal the current toll credit language so that states can count toll credits as the required match for transportation projects in the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS). The 2005 federal transportation bill contained language that modified how the non-federal portion of transportation projects could be financed. As a result, toll credits could no longer be utilized as part of the non-federal funding for ADHS. This meant that dozens of highway construction projects throughout the Appalachian region -- projects like the completion of US 219 from Somerset to I-68 -- were stopped because of this language.
Fortunately, both the House bill, which passed Committee, and Senate-passed transportation bills contain toll credit repeal language. However, if Congress fails to pass a new transportation bill by June 30th, the existing law must be extended for the 10th time - preventing the toll credit language from being repealed and the completion of 219 South from moving forward.