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Daily American - Start Digging


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By Mark Critz

It's been signed, sealed and delivered.

President Barack Obama signed Friday the new Transportation bill that will allow many new highway projects, including Route 219, to proceed.

U.S. Reps. Bill Shuster, Mark Critz and the late John P. Murtha have fought for years on ways to have the four-lanes of Route 219 continue through Somerset toward Maryland.

Over the last 40 years the boards of Somerset County commissioners have lobbied state and federal legislators about the need for this highway.

The new bill allows the use of Appalachian Regional Commission toll credit funds to be used as part of the state's match and also allows the federal government to fully fund projects like this.

It's been news Somerset County residents have wanted for decades. This area needs a four-lane highway corridor to Route 68 to improve traffic flow and commerce.

Motorists, including tractor-trailers, now travel the hazardous Garrett Shortcut to access the southern portions of the county. Now that the bill has been signed, it's time for quick action from the state to get the next section of highway under construction.

It can't happen soon enough.

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