North/South Appalachian Highway Work Group
In 1965, the Appalachian Development Highway System was established by Congress as a necessary step to generate economic development in the rural and terrain-challenged areas of the nation’s 13 Appalachian states. Bourne from a series of visits to this part of the country by John F. Kennedy as he campaigned for the 1960 presidential election, the concept of providing a transportation network within our country’s most impoverished—and under-connected---communities, set the stage for building a system of highways totaling 3,090 miles. Nearly 55 years later, almost 91% of the ADHS has been built, bringing access to markets and building economic prosperity in rural Appalachia. Unfortunately, for the tri-State region served by TGCC, critical sections of the ADHS and its connecting routes, remain uncompleted.
TGCC, founded as a regional organization determined to inspire increased economic development opportunities, adopted the completion of the North/South Appalachian Highway as its signature project in 2008. This transportation corridor envisions US 219 N connecting I-68, near Grantsville, Maryland to the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Somerset, Pennsylvania and US 220 S, near Cumberland, Maryland, to Corridor H, near Scherr, West Virginia. Several economic impact studies of this proposed dual-leg corridor have projected the creation of 10,000 permanent jobs and 20,000 construction and construction-related jobs.
Since adopting the completion of the North/South Appalachian Highway as its priority project, significant milestones have been achieved, including—
- completion of 11-miles of US 219 N from Somerset to Meyersdale
- beginning construction of 1.2 miles of roadway in Maryland that will connect a completed US 219 N to I-68
- reinvestment by Maryland and West Virginia to complete initial environmental impact studies and advance the US 220 corridor project
- development of a Tri-State Coalition, representing business, civic and elected leaders from Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to serve as champions of this project
- leading the effort to enact an Act of Congress, providing funding for the construction of critical miles of US 219 N
To date, our efforts to complete the North/South Appalachian Highway have resulted in $500 million investment dollars. As significant as our accomplishments have been, our work is far from done. But, a renewed energy and an expanded network of critical contacts have been developed in the last year. Focusing on the complete build-out of this economic impact project, our Work Group has developed strategic plans for each of the two legs (US 219 N and US 220 S) that leverage opportunities unique to each leg and provide the best options to move the entire project forward.