Grant funds to benefit county
More than rail cars carrying freight and passengers aboard airplanes in Westmoreland County will benefit from $3.1 million approved by the state as part of $26.1 million given out across Pennsylvania this week.
Among 13 rail and 10 aviation grants, the state Transportation Committee approved $2 million for Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity and $1.1 million to Three Rivers Marine and Rail Terminals in Rostraver after assessing county transportation to ensure safety and expand business operations.
“It's important that the state is able to participate, to invest in these industries, because it pays dividends to the taxpayers and the economy,” said PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt.
The Westmoreland County Airport Authority, which runs Arnold Palmer Regional Airport and Rostraver Airport, plans to use the money for the first phase of an addition to the terminal building.
A $30 million to $35 million expansion will play a major role in developing a master plan to outline long-term planning goals, said Gabe Monzo, executive director of the authority.
“It'll be a great boost to us to help us move along with our plans,” he said.
The authority started work this summer on the master plan, last updated 20 years ago, when the board envisioned the Unity airport as a commuter hub to Pittsburgh.
“We didn't dream we'd be having flights to Dallas, Florida. ... We've leapfrogged that, and we're no longer a commuter airport but a destination airport,” authority Chairman Don Rossi said.
The airport tallied 227,580 passengers this year, and 438,249 since Spirit Airlines started commercial service there in February 2011. This summer, the carrier added Dallas-Fort Worth to the flights already ferrying passengers to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and seasonally to Myrtle Beach.
Transportation improvements — be it air, rail or other means — benefit the economy of the entire county, said Jason Rigone, executive director of the Westmoreland Industrial Development Authority.
“It's something we strongly support to increase Westmoreland County's competition in terms of attracting businesses,” he said, adding that infrastructure improvements can in particular encourage continued growth in industries such as natural gas exploration.
Airport authority officials hope to have the master plan approved within the next year, said Rossi, adding the funding is an opportunity for continued growth in the region.
“It's a great Christmas present for the county,” he said.
At Three Rivers Marine and Rail Terminals, Southwestern Pennsylvania provides the perfect natural distribution center with its rivers, rails and roads, said Scott Turer, chief financial officer.
The company, which transfers and loads bulk commodities — coal, salt, sand and steel — has direct rail connections with CSX and Wheeling & Lake Erie railroads. It plans to use the funds to build 8,000 feet of track and three switches to enhance storage tracks from the main line.
This will enable the company to handle more coal and sand for gas drilling operations.
“We're planning on increasing the activity here at the terminal, which will cause us to be a big player in the distributing business,” he said, adding that the company could begin work in the spring and eventually add jobs.
The company owns the property, so work could begin as soon as contracting plans are finalized.
Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Two Westmoreland men charged with drug possession
- 2 arrested after Jeannette raid turns up heroin, crack, gun
- Inmate charged with smuggling drugs into Westmoreland prison
- Police: Woman faked Mt. Pleasant robbery
- Ruffsdale family loses daughter, 9, to cancer but gives back in her name
- Latrobe parks and recreation director to retire
- Ligonier man accused of beating, strangling woman
- Hempfield officials to review site plan for Excela Health Orthoplex
- Greensburg torture slaying participant Marinucci makes second appeal of sentence as unconstitutional
- Unity planners recommend OK of church plans
- Training sessions to administer heroin overdose antidote to begin in Derry