Proposed highway exit separates, town and candidates

May 01, 1997


Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - There's only one issue separating the two candidates running for the single Greene Township supervisor seat up for grabs in the November election - whether or not Exit 7 on Interstate 81 should be built.

Paul Ambrose, the Republican incumbent, opposes construction of the exit. His opponent, Democratic challenger Douglas Harbach, is leading the camp that wants the exit built. Both candidates are running unopposed in their party's primaries on May 20.

The exit issue has split this township north of Chambersburg for a decade. The state first proposed the exit in 1987, and the rhetoric and lobbying from those on both sides has continued.


Both candidates said they were confident their side would win and that they had more support for their position than their opponent. The two candidates will debate the exit until the general election on Nov. 4.

Ambrose, 59, who teaches urban planning and intergovernment relations at Shippensburg University, said he was elected as a Greene Township supervisor six years ago on a platform opposing the exit.

"It was the No. 1 reason why I was elected," Ambrose said. "I oppose the interchange." He said the main reason for his opposition is Greene Township taxes. The township hasn't had a hike in its real estate taxes for 18 years. An interchange at I-81 and Walker Road would quickly change that, he said.

There is no public water or sewer services on Walker Road, but that would change once an exit there is built, he said.

"It would open that whole area for development and guess who would have to pay to extend the water and sewer lines," he said. "We have to be careful where we channel our growth. It has to be where there is existing infrastructure," he said.

Harbach, vice president of a small business in Chambersburg, said it's too late to think about raising taxes. The board of supervisors has spent more than $500,000 in taxpayer money fighting the exit.

"Mr. Ambrose has been non-responsive to the voters for the last six years," he said.

The supervisors are prepared to spend another $200,000 to continue the fight, Harbach said. "That money would be better spent on cleaner drinking water and safer roads," he said.

He said while he supports Exit 7, it is not the major issue in his campaign. "It's the money they spent fighting it," Harbach said.

"This election is a referendum on the proper use of taxpayer's money. Should the money be spent opposing the exit or should such expenditures be stopped? I'm willing to bet that the preponderance of voters deem spending the money fighting the exit as insanity," he said.

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