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Bill includes $1.3 million for I-81 projects in Franklin Co.

December 15, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- An omnibus bill recently passed by Congress includes more than $1.3 million for projects along Interstate 81 in Franklin County, Pa.

The money is not targeted to any particular project, although upcoming improvements to the Exit 3 interchange could be a strong contender for some of the funding, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster said Tuesday.

As the ranking Republican on the Transportation and Infrastructure's Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Material, Shuster is committed to the $95 million intermodal rail facility planned by Norfolk Southern at Exit 3 in Antrim Township, Pa., spokesman Jeff Urbanchuk said.

"That's a major investment Norfolk Southern is making. It's going to have a big impact there," Urbanchuk said.

According to a news release, the omnibus bill appropriation was secured by Shuster, R-Pa., and Sens. Arlen Specter and Bob Casey, both D-Pa.

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"Applying this funding will take a collaborative effort among all levels of government, something that has proven successful in the past and will again now," Shuster said in the news release.

The congressman is committed to working with Franklin County leaders to determine how best to apply the funding, Urbanchuk said.

The money would pass through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in accordance with decisions made by the county's Rural Planning Organization (RPO), Franklin County Commissioners Chairman Bob Thomas said.

The organization, which formed over the summer, maintains a Transportation Improvements Plan list of upcoming roads projects, Commissioner David Keller said.

"There's no such thing any more as money that does not go through the RPO," Thomas said.

The RPO approved a realignment of the Exit 3 interchange concerning an access ramp and planned entrance to Norfolk Southern's rail-truck facility, Thomas said.

"That's just for safety and baseline improvements to make it a more appropriate intersection," he said.

Phase 2 would improve access to the interstate for northbound traffic on U.S. 11, he said.

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