Efforts led by U.S. Congressman Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16) and the Stark County community to obtain funding for the U.S. Route 30 Regional Transportation Improvement Project came to a head Wednesday evening with the U.S. Department of Transportation announcing an $18 million grant to complete a critical segment of the project around Canton. Gonzalez has championed the U.S. Route 30 expansion project on the federal level since being sworn into office in January, including leading outreach efforts to top Department of Transportation officials and sending official letters to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in support of funding for the project.
“The U.S. Route 30 expansion project has been the top infrastructure priority for Stark County for the better part of the last three decades, and I am incredibly honored that my office has been able to play a role in getting this across the finish line,” said Congressman Gonzalez. “One of my top priorities as the representative for Ohio’s 16th District has been to leverage federal dollars to invest in infrastructure projects and generate economic development. Ensuring we have the infrastructure to support local industries will give Northeast Ohio the framework we need to move our economy forward and make our region a destination for young families and small businesses.”
The $18 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation will go towards a key segment of U.S. Route 30 in Stark County between Trump Avenue and State Route 44. The highway serves as a major east-west corridor in the northern half of Ohio and plays a critical role in commerce associated with the Northeast Ohio manufacturing industry. For Stark County, the U.S. Route 30 project would help generate jobs for local residents along its route, potentially including retail shopping plazas, gas stations, restaurants, lodging, commercial and industrial businesses and potential residential development. Additionally, the project has national benefits, particularly for rural counties in the Appalachian region, by improving highway access for movement associated with goods and services, including commerce related to the oil and gas industry in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions.
In addition to Congressman Gonzalez’s efforts, the Stark County community including Commissioner Richard Regula, State Senator Kirk Schuring, the Regional Transportation Improvement Project (RTIP), the Ohio Governor’s Office, Congressmen Bob Gibbs, Bill Johnson and Tim Ryan, and Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown all played a role in securing funding for this project.
“The Route 30 extension will help drive our region’s economic development and our reputation as a gateway to the growing Ohio Energy Corridor. This is a project decades in the making, and a sign of the dedication of so many people who have worked to make this possible. I would like to thank Rep. Gonzalez and Sen. Portman for their advocacy on Route 30, and for making sure that this project, and the people of this region, are not forgotten. This is a moment my dad would have been proud to see,” said Stark County Commissioner Richard Regula.
“I want to thank Congressman Gonzalez for working in concert with the Stark, Carroll and Columbiana RTIP to make this grant happen. It will help us leverage future dollars that will lead to a more expansive development of U.S. 30 and the region’s economy as a whole,” said State Senator Kirk Schuring.
“The extension of U.S. Route 30 has long been a major priority for our region’s economic development, and I am grateful for Congressman Gonzalez’s hard work to help us secure this critical BUILD Grant,” said Dennis P. Saunier, president and CEO of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Extending the current four-lane expressway from Trump Avenue to Route 44 will alleviate serious safety and logistics problems and fuel further development of Ohio’s Energy Corridor, bringing new investment, jobs and prosperity to our communities.”
“As the largest landholder in Ohio’s Utica Shale, Encino Energy is proud to support the Ohio Energy Corridor. This successful grant application was made possible by the tireless efforts of Officials of the Regional Transportation Improvement Project (RTIP) and Representative Anthony Gonzalez. We are encouraged to see the federal government recognizing the potential of this project,” said Ray Walker, chief operating officer for Encino Energy.
Congressman Gonzalez sent two letters in support of grant funding for the U.S. Route 30 expansion project to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao this year, the first in March and the second in July. Since being sworn in in January, Congressman Gonzalez has secured a total of more than $24 million in grant funding for Ohio’s 16th District.