Good afternoon, commissioners, and thank you for the opportunity to speak. My distrust of the PA Turnpike Commission dates to my great-grandparents' generation, who sold part of the family farm in 1937 to build the original Irwin-to-Carlisle segment of the Turnpike.
To this day, the road is an over-the-back-fence neighbor at my New Stanton house. (I was out there yesterday. It's now my daughter's house.) My Aunt Sarah, who was 29 when that deal went down, and I, lived together in the New Stanton house in 1987 when the Greensburg Bypass was under debate, and she noted then how similar the arguments were for building that extension, to building the original road 50 years earlier. Meanwhile, even in the 1980s and later into the 1990s and 2000s, I saw first-hand those same arguments for building each piece of the Mon-Fayette project. And now it's 2017, and here they are again.
The original road essentially killed the family farm as a viable business. That farm
used to supply half of Greensburg with eggs and some milk. So much for economic
development. If the Greensburg Bypass was to bring development to the New Stanton
area, it didn't happen. They were still building Volkswagens out there when Toll 66
was approved. That fizzled, and Sony didn't last much longer. The site is still in
use, but it would be foolhardy to suggest that building a huge road a mile away has
helped it all that much.
So just remember, as its proponents ballyhoo all these economic benefits, that we've
heard it all before, and it doesn't wash. If you're going to spend two billion
dollars (that you don't have), spend it on stuff we know will work: Fixing local
roads, improving public transit, and making it safer to walk across and along the
streets in these old, industrial towns.
We do not need the Mon-Fayette project. Please vote NO on adding it to the TIP.