In this Update:
Join Senator Scavello Tomorrow at the Get Outdoors PA Festival at Brodhead Creek Park
Concealed Carry Seminar Sponsored by Senator Scavello Oct. 3rd at Jackson Twp. Volunteer Fire Co.
I will be hosting a Concealed Carry Seminar for area residents on Thursday, October 3 from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Company (2176 Route 715, Reeders).
Representatives from the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office will provide an overview of concealed carry laws and answer questions. If you currently have a concealed carry license or are looking to apply for one, this seminar will help inform you as to the responsibilities and laws you must consider.
To RSVP for a spot at the event, please visit https://www.senatorscavello.com/concealed-carry-seminar
Connecting with Community Services is as Easy as Dialing 2-1-1
In Case you Missed it: Interstate 80 Expansion – Separating Fact from Fiction
As many Pocono residents can attest, Interstate 80 serves as both the region’s lifeblood and, too often, a major source of headache for area motorists. On one hand, many of the 29 million annual visitors to the Poconos travel I-80 to frequent our businesses and enjoy recreational opportunities; however, local residents are regularly caught in prolonged bumper-to-bumper traffic both on the Interstate and surrounding roadways.
It takes almost nothing to send I-80 travel into a tailspin. Whether it’s an accident, routine roadwork or just a tractor trailer pulled over on the shoulder, even small incidents lead to back-up for miles. And the congestion will worsen.
A solution to the issues with I-80 is not easy, no matter what some may try to argue.
While there are valid concerns with expanding I-80 to three lanes, I would suggest that the impact of “doing nothing” or keeping it two lanes would have an even greater negative impact in the future – and the data supports that conclusion.
In 1974, just over 34,000 vehicles traveled I-80 daily. Today, the average daily traffic can exceed 70,500 vehicles and, on some weekends, the number climbs above 90,000.
Current studies estimate traffic volumes will reach 132,800 vehicles per day by 2045 – almost double today’s numbers.
In addition, I-80 is significantly affected by global events and trends – including the dredging of the Panama Canal. With larger container ships now able to pass through the Canal, East Coast sea ports are set to see dramatic increases in activity as freight movement increasingly moves east to west. A 2016 study projected that I-80 truck traffic will increase by approximately 45% over 30 years.
In response to the increasing stress on I-80, the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) identified the I-80 corridor as needing significant upgrades, including the addition of a third lane in each direction, wider shoulder widths and longer entrance/exit ramps.
Current, updated studies show the I-80 corridor through the Boroughs contains the highest frequency of incidents on the entire stretch from New Jersey to Ohio.
The proposed expansion project, at its heart, is a safety project.
While some residents have argued for trying to improve the existing four-lane highway, current studies show that a project based on this approach would receive an “F” rating soon after completion. The engineering also shows that the property area needed to simply make “safety enhancements” and upgrade the roadway to current design standards is almost identical to adding a third lane.
A third lane will not in itself create more traffic – increased traffic congestion is coming regardless of whether the highway is expanded. We owe it to future generations to plan for this growth.
Some have suggested building a bypass to take traffic off I-80. With today’s strict environmental standards, the significant property condemnation that would be required and a federal government largely opposed to construction of new highways, this is virtually impossible.
Others have suggested beginning expansion with a different stretch of I-80 instead of the corridor that goes through the Boroughs. Because the $600 million of federal funds are earmarked for enhancing safety, and because the data continues to show this area as the most unsafe corridor, the project must address the worst area first.
The current I-80 expansion project is only the first step leading toward the end goal of a full three-lane highway in each direction from the Water Gap up to I-380. Efforts are already underway to begin the next section by the time this project is finished.
And let’s not forget that the expansion is not just for out-of-town traffic, rather, area residents use I-80 as a local road as well. Adding a third lane in each direction will allow for improved traffic flow when accidents occur and will better accommodate traffic that enters and exits I-80 within Monroe County. On a daily basis, over 20,000 vehicles traveling north on 209 enter I-80 East and exit before Delaware Water Gap.
I am pleased that over half a billion dollars of federal transportation funds are being spent in Monroe County on this project alone. The expansion of I-80 addresses a number of long-standing safety issues with the highway and helps put Monroe County on the map as we continue to invest back into our regional infrastructure.
I will continue to push for solutions that plan for future growth and balance the concerns of our local community. I encourage anyone interested to reach out to me personally to discuss further.
Help Control the Spread of Spotted Lanternfly
The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), Lycorma delicatula (White), is an invasive plant-hopper native to China, India, Vietnam. It was first discovered in Pennsylvania in Berks County and has spread to other counties in the southeast portion of the Commonwealth. This insect has the potential to greatly impact agricultural crops such as grapes, hops, and hardwoods. It is also reducing the quality of life for people living in heavily infested areas. Visit the Department of Agriculture’s website to read about what is being done to combat this pest and how you can help!
On Sept. 18 and 25, the overdose-reversal medication naloxone will be distributed for free by the PA Health Department at sites statewide, to raise awareness of the life-saving drug.
Naloxone is also carried at most PA pharmacies year-round, and is free or low-cost under most insurance plans. You can find the nearest giveaway locations and times here.
Vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children. Car seats and boosters reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers. Unfortunately, nearly half of child seats are installed incorrectly.
This week, the PA State Police is conducting free child car seat fitting events. You can find the nearest location here.
Municipalities, transportation agencies, economic development organizations, businesses, non-profits and other entities can apply now for PA Multimodal Transportation Fund grants to improve roadways, bridges, transit facilities, park and rides, bike lanes, crosswalks and more.
Projects should coordinate local land use with transportation assets to enhance communities. The deadline to apply is Nov. 8.
Around the 40th District
Wednesday we attended a ceremony hosted by the ESU Young Republicans to honor and memorialize those who lost their lives on 9/11. Almost 3,000 flags were placed as a memorial to each victim and each name was listed on the flag in the center of the photo above. Professor Odierno and her Organizational Communication Class also came out to honor the lives of those who passed and their families. We will Never Forget.
On Tuesday night, Frank Lanterman was honored as the recipient of the 2019 A. Mitchell Palmer Award. The annual A. Mitchell Award recognizes an individual within Monroe County for his or her long-term, significant contributions in the field of law, public service and/or community service. Lanterman is a lifetime resident of Monroe County where the Lanterman family has been serving the community for more than a century. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 through 1946 and was part of the Omaha Beach D-Day invasion in 1944. After leaving the Navy, he returned home to run the family business. His community and volunteer work includes: treasurer of the East Stroudsburg Salvation Army for 20 years; former board member of Pocono Mountains Exchange Club; Pocono Mountains Chamber of Commerce; ESSA Bank and Trust; Burnley Workshop; and East Stroudsburg Presbyterian Church.
Lanterman is an avid supporter of AWSOM and for the past four years he has delivered food to AWSOM’s facility and spends time walking the animals. In addition to being a member of East Stroudsburg Elks Lodge 319, Lanterman is also a member of various social organizations in the community, including the Kiwanis Club, George M. Kemp Post 346, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2549. He belongs to the Monroe County Historical Association, the National Funeral Directors Association, the Antique Automotive Club of America and the Pocono Mountains Antique Auto Club. Congratulations Frank and thank you for your contributions to our community!
Kainoa’s Ohana is a not for profit program located in Bangor that offer’s programs for those suffering with addiction, an opportunity to build life skills through a progression of tiered tasks. They recently held a ribbon cutting for their Tribute Pavilion. The foundation was established in the memory of Kainoa. Kainoa’s Ohana was formed by his mother, father, and lifelong friends after he lost his life to the battle of addiction while in recovery. I commend Francine for her investment in our community and for providing a supportive gathering place for individuals to focus on overcoming addiction through long-term recovery. To find out more information, visit their website.
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