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March 16, 1998

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Turnpike Slip Ramp

Letter to James F. Malone III from
Schuylkill Township
Board of Supervisors

March 8, 1999
The Honorable James F. Malone, III
Chair, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
P.O. Box 67676
Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676
RE: Route 29 Slip Ramp Project
Dear Sir:
Your organization appears to be out of step with the times. Local governments are increasingly taking a partnership approach to deal with the unprecedented growth occurring in southeastern Pennsylvania. Township and boroughs, municipalities and counties, and local and State government agencies are beginning to voluntarily work together to coordinate our planning efforts. Our communities, including, businesses, are learning that we must work together if we are to welcome the opportunities before us while still preserving what has attracted so many to our area.
Regrettably, it seems that this cooperative spirit has not yet reached the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Schuylkill Township's most recent encounter with your commission, the proposed Route 29 slip ramp project, appears to be a repeat of our experience of nearly 10 years ago when you proposed an interchange at Route 29. Rather than capitalize on that experience and reach out to the neighboring communities, your commission has chosen to continue your high-handed ways of determining unilaterally and out of our view what is best for us.
And what is it we and our neighbors are seeking that your are so reluctant to provide? The very same items we struggled to get in 1990:
Recognition that your decisions have implications far beyond your right of way, and a willingness to proactively participate in a collaborative approach to addressing before the fact the implications the Route 29 slip ramp project can have on the communities in the region.
Information on your immediate plans and intentions for the Route 29 slip ramp project, including specific details on the traffic studies you have performed, the extent of these studies, and what your traffic engineers have recommended.
Public hearings on the Route 29 slip ramp project so that the interested parties who will be affected (many of whom ultimately fund and utilize your highway) can gain an understanding of what you are planning and how it can benefit them, and so your can hear and consider their concerns and fears.
Specifics on how you are coordinating your projects with those of other transportation agencies (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, and appropriate federal agencies to name a few) so as to optimize each of your respective activities and avoid further exacerbating an already very bad local traffic situation.
And last, the willingness to recognize that an optimal transportation solution for a community is increasingly going to require a coordinated approach across multiple agencies and modalities. And although this may be heresy to your commission, an optimal solution does not always have to be automobile-centric.
As a public agency who derives its funding from both direct and indirect taxes, you should welcome the opportunity to do that which local government does routinely, involve stakeholders in your process early, when it matters.
Please add our request to the may others you have received from our neighbors seeking the above.
(This letter was signed by supervisors: Norman Vutz, Chairman; Theodore J. Ryan, Vice-Chairman; Lee Ledbetter; Sandra Henzie; Bryan D. Walters.)

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