North Carolina Transportation Secretary Tony Tata visited New Bern Tuesday to talk about the new plans for roads and highways proposed last month by Governor Pat McCrory. He says he thinks the eastern part of the state has been underserved in the past, but this plan aims to change that.
Governor McCrory says the Strategic Mobility Plan will improve connectivity in our state and reallocate the way funds are created and used. Some in the east say they are worried the triangle and metro Charlotte areas will get money instead of rural areas. Tata spoke Tuesday in New Bern and says rural areas will not be left behind. He says there's a highway 17 project in the works for the near future.
Tata says the Strategic Mobility Plan would work in phases, and if we continue without changes to the plan, in the next 10 years we won't have enough funding to keep up with population growth. He says the population will grow by 1.3 million new residents, but the state would lose $1.7 billion in infrastructure revenue. He says the new mobility plan will help close that gap.
"In eastern North carolina we have several counties with declining population and higher unemployment than the other parts of the state," said Tata. "We've spent a lot of time taking a hard look at the highways, the ports, airports, the river ways and thinking how to create infrastructure that will help capitalize this economy."