Millions of dollars in government funds - generated from taxpayers - will be needed to convert a long-decaying, abandoned 13-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Bedford and Fulton counties into a vibrant tourist destination.
Although many other projects could be judged as more important for the needed money, the ambitious effort being spearheaded in part by the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy would be a worthy recipient of the money because of the positive economic impact it could provide.
Blair County could benefit from completion of the project.
Presumably, thousands of people would pass through this county each year while on their way to the turnpike site, which includes the also-abandoned Rays Hill and Sideling Hill tunnels.
Promotion tied to the abandoned-turnpike project could include mention of Blair tourism sites such as the Railroaders Memorial Museum, Horseshoe Curve and Fort Roberdeau. Blair and nearby counties have much to offer for visitors with the time to explore tourist destinations.
For the Altoona area, that could mean additional revenue for restaurants, hotels and motels, motor vehicle fuel locations and other businesses and services.
The millions of dollars that would be needed to get the proposed project up and running would over time be dwarfed by the economic benefits that the region would derive.
That is why the effort focused on the abandoned section of turnpike should be actively supported by people of this county, as well as residents of Bedford, Fulton and other nearby counties.
People of central Pennsylvania should allocate 15 minutes of their time to take a survey on the website www.bedfordcountypa.org.
The "Pike 2 Bike" survey, part of an economic study to be carried out by Pittsburgh-based Fourth Economy Consulting, allows participants to express preferences for activities at the 13-mile site, such as cycling, hiking, overnight camping and even skiing.
As reported in an Oct. 13 Mirror article, the study, for which funding already has been secured, is the first major step in the long-term plan. The conservancy has been caretaker of the abandoned highway since 2001.
In the 45 years since the turnpike section was bypassed with a new roadway, the site has been used in a number of ways, some good - as a state police pistol range, rumble strip test site and horror movie set - and some not so good, including as a canvas for graffiti artists.
But the most visible product of those four and a half decades has been the deterioration that the site has experienced.
The proposed project represents proof that this once-important resource long ago deemed obsolete holds the prospect for a new and exciting life with potential benefits for many.
The message to people here and far beyond must be to take the survey and also be vocally supportive of what is being proposed.
As a project, it isn't this region's most pressing need, but the potential benefits categorize it as relevant and very much worth the time currently being expended on its behalf.