Prospects for completing the final section of U.S. Route 219 south to Interstate 68 in Maryland brightened Wednesday with the selection of U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Shuster, 52, a native of Bedford County, has been in Congress since 2001 and represents 11 counties making up the state’s 9th Congressional District. His elevation to chairmanship of the transportation committee should be a boost for the Route 219 project.
The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee not only oversees transportation issues, it has jurisdiction over clean water and waste management, pipelines, food damage reduction, economic development of depressed areas, disaster preparedness and activities of the Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard.
Shuster told reporters in a conference call Wednesday that along with finding money for the completion of the Route 219 project, he will seek money to improve routes 81 and 95 in the state as well as projects to update waterways and airports.
He called upon states, including Pennsylvania, to step up with enhanced revenue to go along with federal money so that more transportation projects can be completed.
“Funding is a challenge. We’ve go to consider user fees on all aspects of transportaion,” he said.
Shuster’s takeover of the transportation committee places him in the same position held by his father, Bud Shuster of Everett. The elder Shuster was the committee chairman from 1995 to 2001.
Completion of Route 219 would give this region a badly-needed north-south transportation corridor.
Shuster has long supported completion of the road. In his new capacity as transportaion chairman, the project’s chances of success are greatly improved.