HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania will spend $5 million in Transportation Infrastructure Funds to widen roadways and improve traffic flow at Pocono Raceway in Monroe County.
The money will be used to make "much-needed" improvements to roads leading to the raceway. The project includes widening Route 115 between Route 903 and the racetrack, which is near Long Pond.
That's the good news. The bad news is the project won't be completed for several years.
Only initial engineering work is scheduled to begin in 2014. That will be followed by design work, right-of-way acquisition and then construction, explained Steve Kratz of the state Department of Community and Economic Development.
A news release from the governor's office did not reveal when the road work will be done, yet stated Route 115 will remain open to traffic throughout construction.
The funding was announced Monday by Gov. Tom Corbett, who was joined by raceway CEO Brandon Igdalsky, as well as NASCAR and INDYCAR officials and state legislators.
Corbett said they were kicking off the raceway's 2014 season. He called it "one of many world-class attractions that make Penn's Woods a top destination for tourists."
"Beyond the excitement of the races, Pocono Raceway undoubtedly supports thousands of jobs for our residents and delivers a significant economic boost to Northeast Pennsylvania," said the governor.
According to an Economic Impact Analysis prepared by East Stroudsburg University, Pocono Raceway contributed an estimated $257.5 million to the income of Northeast Pennsylvania residents in 2013.
The raceway also created about 2,752 new jobs, generated nearly $15 million of tax revenue for the state and another $8 million of revenue for the local and federal governments.
The economic impact of the raceway will probably be even greater in 2014 because of the expected increase in the number of facility users and the expansion of non-traditional activities.
The forecast for 2014 is that Pocono Raceway will generate $277 million of new income for the region and create 3,009 jobs.
"Millions of people throughout our country enjoy NASCAR and INDYCAR, and I am proud that Pennsylvania hosts one of the nation's great tracks: Pocono Raceway's "Tricky Triangle," Corbett said. "Our partnership will ensure the excitement of Pocono Raceway is enjoyed by generations to come."
The family-owned Pocono Raceway has been in business for more than 50 years. It is the only U.S. professional raceterack with three turns, three different radii and three variant degrees of banking.
Allentown, PA 18102