Legislation would require turnpike commission to maintain beltway projects

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Legislation recently introduced in the House would require the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to construct, operate, and maintain the Southern Beltway Projects.

House Bill 2556 would require the commission to appropriate a minimum of $500 million to the project. For five years from the effective date of the legislation, funds are not legally required to be expended, committed, or encumbered.

The commission also could use federal funds for the project.

The project would begin with the Interstate 79 interchange near the Allegheny/Washington County line. It would then move approximately 12.5 miles eastward to a new interchange with the Monongahela/Fayette Expressway near Finleyville.

“This legislation is essential to the development of our local economy,” Rep. Mike Puskaric (R-Allegheny/Washington), who introduced the legislation, said. “Enacting this legislation would also allow the completion of two vital trucking routes into the Mon Valley, as well as connect us to the city of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh International Airport.”

The bill would also require the commission to prepare and submit a written report to the General Assembly explaining whether if the issuance of debt by the commission, the state or both, is necessary to complete the project.

The bill moves to the House Transportation Committee for consideration.