As chambers of commerce, our organizations all share a common mission to enhance the business environment and serve as engines for economic growth.
While each chamber operates independently and develops its own business-focused agenda, we have recently identified a singular issue that is of critical importance to each of our counties — the North/South Appalachian Highway.
This key transportation corridor is defined as Route 219 North, linking Garrett County, Md., to Somerset County, Pa., and Route 220 South, connecting Allegany County to Mineral County, W.Va. Bridging these two highways is Interstate 68, which has already proven to be a significant contributor to the economic vitality of our region.
Our shared interest in developing a viable north/south transportation corridor to compliment I-68 reflects an understanding of the positive effects that such intersecting highway systems have on business development.
New businesses mean new jobs and a renewed sense of economic prosperity.
Nearly a year ago, The Greater Cumberland Committee identified the North/South Appalachian Highway as an important economic development tool and determined that its advancement would be their No. 1 priority.
Since that time, our chambers have joined their efforts and have served as county-specific engines of progress on this highway. With well over 100 other businesses and organizations, we have worked together through the North/South Appalachian Highway Coalition to champion this project and together we have overcome significant hurdles and achieved key successes.
Building a major transportation corridor does not happen overnight, but the actions that have been taken over the past 12 months have renewed the commitment to its successful completion. We believe that 2010 will be equally as productive.
On behalf of the hundreds of businesses we represent, we will continue to be active participants in advancing the North/South Appalachian Highway.
Ron Aldom, Somerset County (Pa.)
Joyce Bishoff, Garrett County
Kolin Jan, Allegany County
Anne Palmer, Mineral County (W.Va.)
Chambers of Commerce
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