Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has sent a letter to the Federal Highway Administration urging swift approval of assistance for Pennsylvania following a major crash at the interchange of I-81 and Route 22/322 that occurred yesterday. The accident caused significant damage and resulted in major delays for commuters. After the accident the Commonwealth requested assistance from the Federal Highway Emergency Relief Fund.
“Yesterday’s accident caused serious damage and disrupted travelers across major parts of Pennsylvania,” Senator Casey said. “Federal assistance will help the Commonwealth begin to rebuild. Interstate 81 plays a vital role in the state’s economy and I’m urging the Administration to quickly approve this request.”
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:
Dear Administrator Mendez,
I write to request federal assistance to help Pennsylvania respond to a disaster that occurred in the Commonwealth near Harrisburg earlier this week. It is my understanding that the Commonwealth intends to request assistance from the Federal Highway Emergency Relief Fund. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.
On May 9th, a tanker truck filled with diesel fuel overturned and exploded. While fortunately at this point no loss of life occurred, the accident caused significant and lasting damage to US Route 22/322 and Interstate 81. I understand that Governor Corbett is seeking a federal disaster declaration for the Commonwealth and I strongly urge you to issue this declaration.
This accident has caused Interstate 81 to be closed until further notice prompting major delays throughout the Commonwealth and along the I-81 corridor. Beyond the inconvenience of traffic delays, the closing of this major intersection will cause significant economic damage. The Secretary of Transportation of Pennsylvania has stated that well in excess of 100,000 vehicles use this intersection on a daily basis. The Secretary has also noted that it may take more than two months to repair the damage done.
Federal resources will be necessary to help the Commonwealth address the damage resulting from the accident. Interstate 81 is a major north-south corridor serving the eastern half of the United States. This accident therefore requires a federal response because the damage that occurred has the potential to have a ripple effect beyond Pennsylvania.
Thank you for your prior assistance for disaster that have occurred in the Commonwealth and for your consideration of this request.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator