With traffic accidents and delays on Route 222 in Berks County causing ongoing problems for the region, the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry joined a group of businesses and labor leaders in calling for action on transportation funding.
Gail Landis, vice president of government and community relations for the chamber, said transportation funding has been a long-term priority for the chamber.
"Our future economic development growth will rely on transportation improvements," she said.
She said both businesses and commuters need infrastructure improvements and reliable road transportation to operate efficiently.
She said the 12 miles of Route 222 that are only two lanes and the 48 structurally deficient bridges with weight restrictions in Berks County are among the biggest problems for commerce.
Landis noted that Pennsylvania leads the nation in structurally deficient bridges, with more than 5,200 statewide.
In an open letter to Gov. Tom Corbett and the General Assembly signed by more than 70 union groups and business associations, the group called transportation funding "a core function of the government" that will lead to "new jobs and investment in the future."
Landis said the group supports the implementation of a fuel tax, which she described as a "user fee" where the people that use the most fuel – and therefore are the highest users of the state's roads – will pay the most toward the needed improvements.
"The legislators need to hear from our members on the negative impact of inaction and potential loss of businesses here in Berks County. We are encouraging members and the community to take action on greaterreadingvoice.com, where you can send an email to our legislators urging them to vote 'yes' on transportation funding." said Ellen Horan, president and CEO of the Greater Reading Chamber.
Landis said more information on Berks transportation issues can be found on the website www.greaterreadingvoices.com.