Casey Urges EPA to Work on an Appropriate Path to Move Route 219 Project Forward

In Letter to EPA, Senator Urges Action Before Project is Delayed for Another Year

Route 219 Project Could Play Major Role in Job Creation, Economic Growth in Region

Washington DC - U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), today, announced that he has sent a letter to acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Bob Perciasepe, urging his agency to expeditiously work to resolve concerns for the Route 219 project so that it can move forward during this construction season. Currently, the EPA has expressed some concern about the impact of the project. In his letter, Senator Casey asked the agency to work through those concerns expeditiously because if the project misses this construction season it could be delayed for another whole year.

“The Route 219 project possesses the potential for job creation and economic growth across Southwestern Pennsylvania. It’s critical that the EPA work with officials on appropriate steps to allow construction to move forward,” Senator Casey said. “Residents in Southwestern Pennsylvania have a reasonable expectation that these issues can be resolved in the best interest of the community in an appropriate time frame.”

Senator Casey fought to get the Route 219 project to this point. In the Congressional transportation bill, a Casey provision provided states with more flexibility as they use their transportation resources. Senator Casey’s provision allowed toll credits to fund Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) projects. The measure also allows the federal cost share on ADHS projects to increase from 80% to 100%.

The full text of Casey’s letter can be seen below:

April 12, 2013

The Honorable Bob Perciasepe
Acting Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency

Dear Administrator Perciasepe:

It is my understanding that the Environmental Protection Agency has expressed concerns regarding the Route 219 project in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.  As it has been explained to me, further delays of this project could cause it to miss the approaching spring construction season, which could result in the project being held up another year.  I have been informed that the applicant is actively working with your agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to provide information and answer questions.  I urge you to continue to work with local stakeholders to ensure that these concerns are addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Since I have come to the Senate the development of the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) has been a top priority for me.  Last summer I worked to secure language in MAP-21 to help move this project forward.  Completion of the ADHS is critical to future economic growth in the Appalachian region.  Additionally this project will help create jobs, improve infrastructure in Somerset County, and make the highway safer for travelers. 

I am ready to work with you and other project stakeholders to do what we can to reach a compromise and allow this project to move forward.  If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me directly or have your staff contact my office.  Thank you for your attention to my concerns.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey Jr.
United States Senator

Press Contact

April Mellody 202-228-6367