US 422 Improvements and Reintroduction of Rail Service – Potential Economic Impacts (2011)
Econsult Corporation, on behalf of Select Greater Philadelphia, prepared an economic analysis of the potential economic impacts of improving the US 422 corridor, which stretches between Norristown and Reading, and includes US 422 itself, and a freight rail that previously hosted passenger rail service. In recent years, US 422 has seen sustained congestion as a result of rapid population growth, commercial development, and the lack of transportation alternatives. In response, PennDOT and Montgomery, Chester and Berks Counties have developed plans to upgrade 422 and reintroduce rail service to the corridor. Econsult’s report focused on the benefits and costs of the potential improvements, specifically concerned with:
- Benefits and costs for individuals and society
- Fiscal impacts on municipalities
- Property value impacts
Econsult presented five illustrative scenarios to demonstrate how the investments might affect individuals and businesses in the corridor. We also examined the potential fiscal impact of possible development projects that would be triggered by construction of the improvements. We identified four specific developments in the study area in Phoenixville, Limerick Township, and Upper Providence, and measured incremental tax revenue and incremental municipal costs. Finally, property value impacts rise due to increased accessibility, increased travel options and decreased travel times. Econsult assigned monetary value to the saved time due to reduced congestion net of tolls and compared the present value of savings to current housing prices.
The analysis has been used to inform stakeholders in the 422 corridor as they investigate this proposed remedy for current congestion and investment for future mobility.