This Thursday, May 19th, the Lancaster County Planning Commission is hosting an important public information meeting. The topic is the county’s draft Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for 2017.
This TIP lists all significant and federally funded projects and services in Lancaster County, such as highway projects, bridge replacements, major corridor studies, transit investments and transportation enhancements. It is updated every two years to comply with federal requirements.
The draft TIP available for review totals approximately $225 million in transportation improvements in Lancaster County planned for 2017-2020.
Given the significant dollars at stake, the opportunity for the public to ask questions and review the program is an important one. The public meeting, which follows reviews by local transportation governing bodies, is a key step of the approval process that must be wrapped up in June.
Stating the obvious, there is a direct correlation between the quality of a community’s transportation infrastructure and its economic development and quality of life.
On a national level, alarm bells are ringing about the U.S.’s weakening competitiveness due to failing infrastructure. From the American Society of Civil Engineers to the World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Index, reports document major challenges related to bridges, highways, air and rail.
Locally, it is hard not to find an opinion on transportation issues.
Since 93 percent of Lancaster County households have a car, the most frequent topic is traffic congestion. (Think Centerville Road, Fruitville and Lititz Pikes, or Route 30 east.)
In aggregate, Lancaster Countians are driving nearly 12 million miles daily, up 13 percent since 2001, an increase that also aligns with our population growth over that period.
For businesses, Lancaster County’s geographic location has been, and remains, one of its considerable competitive advantages. Our easy access to highways, rail, airports and ports is fundamental to so many of our industries.
The state of Lancaster County infrastructure, therefore, has major implications on our ability to retain, grow and recruit businesses.
The quality, efficiency and reliability of our transportation system directly correlates to the management of inventories, the true cost of transporting goods, accessing suppliers and markets, and ensuring a dependable workforce.
Yet despite the direct impact transportation has on our economy and our quality of life, the planning and funding of transportation improvements is not a well understood topic by the general public or the business community.
Indeed, gaining sufficient knowledge to understand transportation funding, the project prioritization process, the timeline to get from planning to construction, let alone the coordination among various local, state and federal agencies is a daunting task.
That’s why taking advantage of key public meetings like the one this Thursday is so important.
Public participation brings new ideas and perspectives to the process, and also validates the importance of the subject matter while at the same time holding decision makers accountable.
Qualified staff will be on hand to answer questions and to record comments. The meeting is an open-house format and will have maps on display along with other documents available for review.
Considerable information about the TIP, including a user-friendly list of projects scheduled for funding, along with details on the upcoming public meeting can be found online at www.lancastercountyplanning.org.
Lisa Riggs, president of the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County, serves as a member of the Lancaster County Transportation Technical Advisory Committee.
You can read the full article here.
Draft 2017 TIP and LRTP Public Meeting
Thursday, May 19 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Conference Room 102
150 North Queen Street
Lancaster, PA 17603
For more information, click here.