Letterkenny projects funded in bill

March 27, 1998|By DON AINES

Letterkenny projects funded in bill

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Letterkenny Army Depot has been targeted to receive $13 million in projects in the 1998 Highway Bill, according to the office of U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster, R-Pa.

The bill calls for $10 million to be spent over the next six years for an advanced traffic monitoring and emergency response center. An additional $3 million over six years would go toward an advanced tractor-trailer training center, according to Shuster's office.

Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority spokeswoman Deborah Garvin said she had no prior knowledge of the projects earmarked for the depot.

"It wasn't an Army initiative," said Alan Loessy, depot spokesman.

Dick Rohrer, president of a tractor-trailer training school at the depot, said he was unaware of plans for an advanced tractor-trailer training center there.


Shuster is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which on Tuesday unanimously approved a $217 billion six-year spending plan called the Building Efficient Surface Transportation Equity Act of 1998.

The bill has to be reconciled with a $214 billion Senate version in a conference committee, then passed by both chambers before it can be signed into law by President Clinton.

The traffic monitoring and response center would monitor the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Interstate 81 in the state, according to Shuster's office. It would be used to gather "information on the location and severity of an accident and to coordinate whatever emergency response is needed."

Using a Global Positioning System, the center would "monitor traffic speeds and traffic volume during peak travel times," according to Shuster. The center would develop technology to relay information to motorists in their homes, offices and eventually, their vehicles, Shuster's office said.

Shuster said in the statement that during his 26 years in Congress, traffic volume in Pennsylvania has increased 123 percent while highway capacity has gone up 7 percent.

The bill would create a public-private partnership with an advanced curriculum for the training of truck drivers, according to Shuster's office.

"PennDOT will provide funding to a not-for-profit entity to establish the center," the statement said.

Rohrer, president of Global Safety Services, said a training center could hurt his business, which started a truck driving school at the depot last year.

"That's why I want to learn more about it. I hope it's not competition," Rohrer said.

Other projects in the bill include:

* $1 million for a Chambersburg transportation hub building and $300,000 to buy trolleys for the Chambersburg Transit Authority. Director Doug Filson said Thursday there's no timetable for building the center, which would be on Hood Street

* $2 million to widen U.S. 30 from three to five lanes between Chambersburg and Fayetteville, Pa. State Sen. Terry Punt, R-Franklin, said the money was not unexpected. The bill for all U.S. 30 improvements in Franklin County is $18 million and widening the road could begin next year, he said.

* $200,000 to install traffic lights at the Hade Road and Jack Road intersections on U.S. 30 in St. Thomas Township.

* $1 million for a truck passing lane on Pa. 16 between Rouzerville and Blue Ridge Summit in Washington Township.

* $700,000 to reconfigure Exit 2 of Interstate 81 in Antrim Township. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation engineer Mike Gillespie said he believes the money is for improving the on-ramp from U.S. 11 north to southbound I-81.

* $1 million was budgeted to improve access from U.S. 522 to the South Central Business Park in Ayr Township in Fulton County.

* $500,000 would go to improve the Sideling Hill section of U.S. 30 in Licking Creek Township in Fulton County. A runaway truck ramp also would be built.

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