Senate Passes Legislation Authored by Sen. Corman to Name Highways After Two Soldiers and Former Transportation Secretary Tom Larson

(HARRISBURG) – The State Senate today unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Jake Corman (R-Benner Twp.) designating a portion of State Route 26 in Centre County as the Marine Sergeant David “DJ” Emery Highway, designating a portion of State Route 850 in Perry County as the Army Private David E. Dietrich Memorial Highway, and designating Route 322 in Harris, College and Patton Townships in Centre County as the Thomas D. Larson Highway.

“We have the honor of naming two state highways after soldiers that served our country with distinction and honor,” Corman said. “We also fittingly name a highway after a man who transformed the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation into the model department it is today.”

Corman’s Senate Bill 999 names a portion of State Route 26 in Spring and Marion Townships in Centre County as the Marine Sergeant David “DJ” Emery Highway.

David “DJ” Emery, Jr., was born August 23, 1985. He graduated from Bellefonte Area High School in 2003 and studied masonry at the Centre County Vocational-Technical School. He was always an active outdoorsman and has a love of motorcycles.

Emery enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in June 2003 and, following completion of basic training was deployed to Iraq in 2004 and then again in 2006.

Private First Class Emery served with distinction in the 4th Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2/4 Gulf Company until February 7, 2007, when he was seriously wounded in an attack by a suicide bomber. Emery was promoted to Sergeant on May 9, 2007.

Senate Bill 999 also designates a portion of State Route 850 in Perry County as the Army Private David E. Dietrich Memorial Highway.

David E. Dietrich was born January 14, 1985. He graduated from Susquenita High School, Perry County, in 2004.

He was active in Boy Scouts of America, Troop 56, and the Marysville Fire Company. Private Dietrich enlisted in the United States Army in March 2006, graduated from the United States Army Training Center at Fort Knox, Kentucky, on July 20, 2006, and a short time later was deployed to Iraq.

Private Dietrich served with distinction in F Troop, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Bridge Combat Team, 1st Armored Division until December 29, 2006, when he was fatally wounded when his combat patrol unit came under attack from enemy forces in Ar Ramadi, Iraq.

Corman’s legislation to name this highway in memory of Private Dietrich, SB 1133, originally passed in the Senate in October of 2007 and has the support of Marysville Borough officials.

Senate Bill 999 also designates Route 322 in Harris, College and Patton Townships in Centre County as the Thomas D. Larson Highway.

Tom Larson served as Secretary of Transportation from 1979 to 1987 during Governor Richard Thornburgh’s administration. He is widely recognized being instrumental in reforming the department and making it a national model of professionalism and innovation.

He was later sworn in as Federal Highway Administrator on August 10, 1989 and served until 1993. During his tenure as Federal Highway Administrator, he played an important role in crafting the Intermodel Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), which was the legislation that sent hundreds of millions of dollars to Pennsylvania to improve highways and bridges.

Before and after his public service to the Commonwealth and the United States, Larson also distinguished himself as a professor of civil and environmental engineering in preparing the next generation of transportation professionals at The Pennsylvania State University, where he earned three degrees.

Larson passed away on July 20, 2006.

Senate Bill 972, legislation introduced by Sen. Corman to name the highway in memory of Dr. Larson originally passed in the Senate in June of 2007.

“Tom Larson and his innovative policies transformed the Department of Transportation and made it a model for other states to emulate,” Corman said. “This memorial highway is a fitting tribute to a man who did so much for the Commonwealth and its residents.”

Senate Bill 999 now goes to the House of Representatives for its concurrence before being sent to the Governor for his signature.

Senator Jake Corman, the Senate Policy Chairman, represents the 34th Senatorial District, which includes Centre, Mifflin, Juniata, Perry and Union Counties.

CONTACT:
Don Houser
Phone: 717 787-1377
Email: dhouser@pasen.gov