NC Road and Infrastructure Improvements Clear Hurdle in Highway Bill Conference
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives conferees yesterday approved a final version of the five-year highway bill, H.R. 22, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) authorizing federal surface transportation programs through fiscal year (FY) 2020. Included in the final legislation are provisions previously introduced by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC) that amend the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 and designate the following North Carolina highways as high priority corridors and future interstates:
- Raleigh-Norfolk Corridor from Raleigh, North Carolina, through Rocky Mount, Williamston, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina, to Norfolk, Virginia.
- U.S. Route 70 from its intersection with Interstate Route 40 in Garner to the Port at Morehead City, and U.S. Route 117/Interstate Route 795 from U.S. Route 70 in Goldsboro to Interstate Route 40 west of Faison.
The designation of the highways would advance the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Strategic Transportation Corridors Vision, which aims to provide North Carolina with a network of high priority corridors that will become part of the Interstate system once they are fully built and upgraded to interstate standards.
“I am pleased that the Senate and House were able to agree on a five-year highway bill that would designate the Raleigh-Norfolk and U.S. 70 corridors as future interstates,” said Sen. Tillis. “This legislation would produce long-lasting benefits for North Carolina, including reduced traffic congestion, improved access to military bases, and increased investments in our state’s transportation and infrastructure.”
“With North Carolina highway improvements locked into the final highway bill, road upgrades are looking more promising than ever before,” said Sen. Burr. “This is an enormous step in the right direction, and these improvements are vital for our state's infrastructure and encourages economic expansion by connecting some of the east coast’s largest ports to North Carolina’s cities and towns.”
The bill will return to the House and Senate for a final vote.
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