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Stimulus money to fund 70 N.C. highway projects

Posted February 24, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

Orange barrels / highway construction generic

— Seventy highway and bridge projects across North Carolina will begin in the next few months after the state obtained $466 million in federal economic stimulus funds, Gov. Beverly Perdue said.

Perdue toured the state Tuesday to promote three stimulus-backed projects in Kinston, Mint Hill and Alamance County.

Perdue releases list of stimulus road projects Perdue releases list of stimulus road projects

“Our overriding goal is to get North Carolina’s economy moving by funding transportation projects that will create jobs from the mountains to the coast,” Perdue said in a statement. “My administration is working closely with local communities to determine which projects can be ready most quickly and deliver the greatest benefit. I will stress accountability, transparency and efficiency as we use the stimulus funds.”

The Kinston project, for example, will build an 8-mile connector road between U.S. Highway 70 west of Kinston and N.C. Highway 58 near the Global TransPark. The $64.3 million project will include the construction of 12 bridges.

"This improved link between U.S. 70 and GTP is critical to the further economic development of the region," said Transportation Secretary Gene Conti, who also serves as a vice president of Global TransPark. "This is a great investment to create jobs to build this economy."

Conti each $1 million in stimulus money should create 30 jobs, so the Kinston project should result in about 1,900 new jobs – both construction jobs and other positions as businesses move to or expand in the area because of the new road.

An unidentified man confronted Perdue about investing more money in the Global TransPark, which fiscal conservatives have cited for years as the poster child of wasteful government spending that has produced little economic benefit.

"Let me be direct: This connector is separate and apart from the TransPark. It's very important to the TransPark, but all of this (N.C.) 258 corridor is critically important," Perdue said later.

The $466 million is the first half of the stimulus money North Carolina will receive for highway improvements. The federal law President Barack Obama signed last week requires states to use their initial allocations within 120 days, and the second half must be committed to projects within a year.

Wake County projects included in the initial stimulus funding include repaving portions of the Interstate 440 Beltline and U.S. Highways 64 and 264. Durham projects include widening Old Oxford Road and repaving N.C. Highway 98 and U.S. Highway 501 Bypass.

Cumberland County will receive $63 million for the planned Interstate 295 loop around Fayetteville, while another $22 million is earmarked to extend Booker Dairy Road by more than 2 miles in Johnston County.

The other two stimulus projects Perdue promoted Tuesday were spending $17 million to improve N.C. Highway 218 from Interstate 485 in Charlotte to U.S. Highway 74 in Union County and $10 million to resurface five miles of Interstate 85/40 near the Alamance-Guilford county line.

Perdue said last week that she would pursue discretionary grant money included in the stimulus package to use for the $300 million replacement of the Yadkin River Bridge on I-85 in Davidson and Rowan counties. That money would be in addition to the state's allotment for transportation projects.

The initial stimulus money should create about 14,000 jobs statewide, Perdue said. Projects funded by the second half of stimulus money will be announced in the next 45 days. she said.

The state Department of Transportation is working with local planning organizations to determine which projects will be funded. The biggest factor is whether the projects can be under contract by June, officials said, followed by safety, mobility, infrastructure health and equity considerations.

"We want shovel-ready projects," Perdue said.

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  • davidbh61255 Feb 25, 2:43 p.m.

    Please don't throw good money after bad for GTP! It is a money pit for a few SPECIAL people and whose time has passed. If it had been built back in the 50's it could have grown with NC. Timeliness has a lot to do with infrastructure projects. Bonner Bridge---- Take the ferry,we don't need both!

  • itsnotmeiswear Feb 25, 9:21 a.m.

    The GTP is finally going to get a decent tenant so all the money spent there can hopefully start to pay some dividends for the area. The biggest issue everyone should have with the GTP is not this new road, but with how much the GTP paid and benefited one specific family over the years.

    They have been manipulating the politics of the area for their own benefit for years.

  • thecatsmeow Feb 25, 8:57 a.m.

    I personally think the legal citizens of NC should have had more say in how this money was spent. The decision should not have been left up to a handful of people. This is a lot of money and there are a lot of folks with common sense that could have offered valuable suggestions that would have helped more people. But, I guess when it comes to politics, that doesn't factor in. People in political positions want to keep control.

  • Football_is_Clayton Feb 25, 8:36 a.m.

    Beverly Perdue dont know what shes doing she puting alot of the mony to roads why dont she give some of it to the people that need it like me "FIXING ROADS ANT GOING TO HELP US ONE BIT"!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • computer trainer Feb 24, 9:24 p.m.

    She swears that all of these road projects are going to be quality and that the contractor will be held responsible if not. Yeah, let's see that happen

  • mondo Feb 24, 8:03 p.m.

    I hope these will be green technology projects.

  • NCSULandscaper Feb 24, 7:29 p.m.

    Anyone who got a job working on these projects, probably would never get paid by the DOT. I am in a court battle with them now because they dont want to pay us out on a signed contract we had.

  • wayne1961 Feb 24, 7:17 p.m.

    The reason the stimulus is being used for other projects and not the southern loop of 540 is that 540 southern loop project is not "shovel ready"

    Environmental documents have to be prepared for all new location DOT projects and they EXPIRE after a certain date. Therefore the department will not work on projects that don't have a reasonable chance of being funded. It would be a WASTE OF $$$ to work on an environmental document for a project that doesn't look like it is going to be funded anytime soon. Who would have known 6-7 years ago that NC would be getting this stimulus $$$?

    The costs of the 540 project will likely be more than all the stimulus $$$ that NCDOT is getting anyway. With the costs of major new location projects and with the drastic increase in materials, and revenues dropping, get used to tolls or other alternative financing options, or do without. The current funding streams will not support it.

  • james27613 Feb 24, 7:14 p.m.

    They should make sure that the contractors that
    goofed up the repaving of I-40 and the new highway
    that is crumbling are BANNED from bidding or working on the
    projects.

  • Sandollar Feb 24, 7:03 p.m.

    I, too, wonder how many illegals will be hired to stimulate the economy in Mexico.

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