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 HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- State Sen. J. Barry Stout, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, announced that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, along with federal, state and local environmental, transportation and planning agencies have agreed on the need for transportation improvements in the Southern Beltway corridor between the Pittsburgh International Airport and the Mon/Fayette Transportation project.
 An agreement was reached at an Oct. 21 meeting in Harrisburg after additional information, requested by the environmental agencies in relation to the Needs Study, was reviewed.
 All parties had previously agreed on the need for transportation improvements between Interstate 79 and the Mon/Fayette Transportation Project at an August scoping meeting. At that August meeting, the agencies requested that the Turnpike Commission provide supplemental needs data before a decision could be made on the need for transportation improvements between the Airport and Interstate 79.
 At the October meeting, the attending agencies said the Turnpike Commission's supplemental needs data "supported the fact that a study is needed to address present and future congestion problems and encourage economic development between Interstate 79 and the airport."
 Stout, who was a speaker at the Scoping Meeting in August, expressed his support for the agreement. "The concurrence by the agencies on the need for transportation improvements between the Airport and the I-70 to Route 51 Mon/Fayette Transportation Project is a significant step in our efforts to move the Southern Beltway forward," said Stout. "As an early supporter of Act 61 and Act 26, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Expansion Acts, I applaud the hard work and analysis done by government agencies at the federal, state and local levels to reach this agreement."
 The agencies' latest decision concludes step three of the 10-step Transportation Project Development Process and allows the Turnpike Commission to proceed to step four, which includes conducting preliminary engineering and environmental studies on three independent projects in the Southern Beltway study area. They are: Pittsburgh International Airport to U.S. Route 22 (also known as the Findlay Connector); U.S. Route 22 to Interstate 79; and from Interstate 79 to the Mon/Fayette Transportation Project.
 "We are excited about the agencies' concurrence on the need for transportation improvements in the Southern Beltway Corridor," said John F. Graham Jr., deputy executive director for engineering and chief engineer of the Turnpike Commission. "We plan to move ahead to step four of the transportation development process immediately. Input from the public is essential to the success of the development process for the Southern Beltway transportation improvement projects. Therefore, the Turnpike Commission will hold a series of public meetings throughout the Southern Beltway corridor to solicit the public's views and suggestions. We hope people will get involved by participating in these meetings."
 The Southern Beltway Study Area is approximately 32 miles long and as much as 17 miles wide, starting near the Pittsburgh International Airport and extending southeast to a connection with the I-70 to Route 51 Mon/Fayette Transportation Project.
 -0- 11/4/93
 /CONTACT: Tom Fox of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, 412-271-7191/

CO: Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission ST: Pennsylvania IN: TRN SU:

MJ-JM -- PH035 -- 0980 11/04/93 17:32 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 4, 1993

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