Indiana Gazette: Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission seeks Transportation Improvement Plan comments in Indiana County

A 30-day comment period has begun for a proposed 2025-28 Transportation Improvement Plan unveiled in the first of a series of county meetings Wednesday at PACareerLink in White Township.

”Smart Moves for a Changing Region” arrived as scheduled in the second year of the current 2023-26 TIP for the region including Indiana, Armstrong, Westmoreland, Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence and Washington counties, and the City of Pittsburgh.

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission develops Long-Range Transportation Plans as part of its role as the area’s designated Metropolitan Planning Organization. Its latest plan for 2025-28 can be found at

SPC staffers, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials, and local stakeholders joined the commission’s executive director, Rich Fitzgerald, for a 90-minute session, the first of 10 scheduled across the region in the month to come.

“We have to start collaborating as 10 counties,” said Indiana County Commissioner Robin A. Gorman. “We really have to start working together.”

Each TIP is meant to be a step toward investments over the next 25 years in the region.

The 2023-26 TIP foresees spending more than $2.1 billion on public transit, more than $1.5 billion on road and bridge projects, and an additional $2 billion in other federal, state and private funding going toward interstates, railways and other major projects in the region.

“We really want public participation,” said Mark Hilliard, president of the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce. He’s co-chair, with Indiana County Office of Planning & Development Executive Director Byron G. Stauffer Jr., of the county’s Public Participation Panel, consisting of private citizens, public officials and others with a handle on transportation needs in Indiana County.

Hilliard, Stauffer and Gorman, in turn, are part of the county’s contingent on the SPC board of directors with county Commissioners R. Michael Keith and Sherene Hess, with Hess also representing the county on the SPC Executive Board.

According to the plan, $860 million would be invested in bridges. SPC officials said some notable examples of major bridge rehabilitation to begin work over the next four years include the U.S. Route 119 bridge over Two Lick Creek in Center Township, Indiana County, and the Judge J. Frank Graff Bridge carrying U.S. Route 422 over the Allegheny River between Manor and North Buffalo townships in Armstrong County.

Additionally, Fitzgerald said, “there are other pots of money that aren’t on the TIP.”

And it is a diverse discussion going on. An Environmental Justice Report and an Air Quality Conformity Report also are part of the proposed TIP.

Also, some of the concern isn’t about speeding around from one place to another, but also, as Indiana Borough Councilman Peter Broad put it, a need in some places for traffic calming.

“There is a disconnect when it comes to working inside urbanized municipalities,” said Broad, a longtime public official in Indiana County’s second-largest municipality, who also has expressed concern about Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s interest in a “campus front door” from the IUP Indiana campus to downtown Indiana.

Since Wednesday, the commission also has held public meetings in Beaver County and in Pittsburgh, with the next meetings after that being on Monday at 1 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room of the Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg and on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Kittanning Township Volunteer Fire Department, 13126 U.S. Route 422, Kittanning, for Armstrong County.

Additionally, between now and June 7 at 5 p.m., comments about the proposed TIP can be submitted via email at, or utilizing an online input form at or by mail to Att: Ronda Craig, Southwestern PA Commission, 42 21st Street, Suite 101, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

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