WASHINGTON – President Biden and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on Tuesday announced more than $1.2 billion for the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS).
Funds will be used toward the completion of designated corridors in 11 states in the Appalachian region, according to a DOT news release.
For Appalachia, completion of the ADHS will mean: $8.7 billion more in goods and services per year; $4.2 billion more in gross regional product; $2.7 billion in increased worker pay and adding more than 46,000 jobs, according to the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), an economic development agency of the federal government that partners with state governments and counties in the region.
Freight‐carrying trucks account for just 4.3 percent of all traffic on the road systems of the 13 Appalachian states but represent approximately 14 percent of all vehicle‐hours of travel time savings attributable to these ADHS routes, according to the ARC.
“It is notable that the largest source of benefit for car travel is time savings, while logistics cost savings are as important as time savings for truck travel,” according to an ARC report.
Much of the freight transported through the region travels long distance to destinations outside of Appalachia. The region’s corridors serve as important national transportation links, according to the DOT.
Under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, annual funding for the ADHS will increase 146% compared to Fiscal Year 2021, providing dedicated funding to the ADHS to spur economic growth in this historically isolated region, the DOT news release stated.
The total amount that will be available to the states in Fiscal Year 2022 is $246 million.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that every American community deserves reliable access to the country’s transportation system.
“Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we now have historic resources to improve transportation and create jobs for people in Appalachia, and around the country,” Buttigieg said.
Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said: “Ensuring rural regions are connected to the rest of America’s cities and towns is key to our nation’s economic success. That’s why releasing the dedicated funding that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided for the Appalachian Development Highway System is a priority for the Biden-Harris Administration.”
The ADHS was initiated in 1965 because Appalachia was underserved by the interstate highway system, which sometimes bypassed the rural region’s rugged terrain.
The system is a network of 33 distinct corridors (about 3,000 miles) linking the region to interstates and providing access to regional and national markets. It includes 13 states connecting New York to northern Mississippi.
Today, more than 85 percent of the ADHS is completed. By 2040, 100 percent of the network is expected to be complete and open to traffic. The funding announced today – over $1.2 billion throughout the five years of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – will help finalize the network.
In implementing the ADHS program, the DOT’s Federal Highway Administration works closely with the ARC, whose mission is to promote innovation, partnership and investment to build communities, strengthen the economy and improve socioeconomic conditions in Appalachia, according to the DOT news release.
“Since ARC’s founding in 1965, one of its first priorities was to coordinate construction of a highway system that would provide improved access to all that the region has to offer,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin.
“Thanks to funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re moving closer to completing the Appalachian Development Highway System to better connect businesses within the region to domestic and international markets. In addition, it is providing residents with safe and reliable access to jobs, education, health care, social services, and recreation.”
Construction of the ADHS has increased economic activity across the region – including job creation and business expansion.
According to a 2017 analysis, more than 168,000 jobs were created or maintained due to increased economic activity associated with the ADHS while $9 billion was added to the gross regional product.
The ADHS also saves 231 million hours of travel time annually.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.