China visit by U.S Rep. to seek backing for Turnpike Project
U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.) and Pasquale T. "Pat" Deon Sr., chairman of the SEPTA board and a commissioner of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, made a private trip to China in November, to urge wealthy Chinese to immigrate to the United States by investing in the Turnpike project. Fitzpatrick and Deon met with about 250 potential investor-immigrants in Beijing and Shanghai.The Turnpike Commission plans to use $200 million from foreign investors to help pay for the $420 million connection between I-95 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Bristol Township.
"Building the I-95 interchange will create thousands of jobs while completing a project decades overdue," Fitzpatrick said in a statement. "I made the trip so that I could better understand those who might want to invest in the project. "We're very excited about this long-awaited highway construction project and the use of lower-cost EB-5 financing," Fitzpatrick told the potential investors.
"Pennsylvania was one of the first states in the nation to use EB-5 financing, which remains a strong investment opportunity. I just want to say we appreciate your interest in the project, it's an important project for our region and our nation."Deon told the Chinese investors that the Turnpike Commission envisions using similar cash-for-residency funds for future projects.The commission is "very interested in moving forward with more of this type of financing," he said.
The first $50 million installment from the foreign investors is due to be paid to the Turnpike Commission by April.Construction began in October on the long-awaited direct connection between I-95 and the turnpike. PKF-Mark III Inc. of Newtown won the contract to build the first section of the $420 million Stage 1 of the new interchange, which will finally provide an unbroken I-95 between Maine and Florida. For decades, I-95 has been incomplete in New Jersey near Trenton.When Stage 1 is completed in 2018, I-95 will be rerouted onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike east of the connection and then onto the New Jersey Turnpike. The current I-95 north of the connection will be redesignated as I-395 or I-195.
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