Perhaps the time has come for Susquehanna Valley Thruway project

You can drive from Florida all the way up the East Coast without hitting a traffic light until you get to Shamokin Dam.

There you will be confronted by an elongated strip of lights, traffic congestion, cars coming on and off Route 15 and a whole lot of stopping and starting.

The proposed Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway would change all that. The $600 million transportation project has been in the works for years but has run into a series of funding blockades.

Construction of the Thruway would complete the Route 15 modernization that has been going on for decades.

State Sen. Eugene Yaw, a Loyalsock Township Republican representing much of the region, said recently that if he was asked for a priority, the Thruway would be it. He did not rule out tolls to pay for the Thruway, which might get him some opposition.

But he is hopeful that some new, creative ideas can be used to help pay for the Thruway. Beyond that, Gov. Corbett’s state budget proposal includes an ambitious plan to fund a $5.4 billion transportation plan.

The economic benefit of a completed Thruway is beyond debate, especially with the presence of the natural gas drilling industry in our area.

The Thruway would divert the trucks and other hauling traffic off of the Shamokin Dam strip, saving those roads with a newer highway that is equipped to handle the weight and volume of traffic.

Perhaps the presence of the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania will be the needed rationale to get the money for the Thruway approved, especially given that Gov. Tom Corbett wants to make Pennsylvania the country’s proclaimed natural gas hub.

Has the Central Susquehanna Thruway’s time finally come?

Well, the economic necessity has never been greater.

The opportunity for the funding won’t be any better in the future.

If not now, when?