North Carolina’s population has passed the 10-million mark. By 2030, we are expected to add 2 million more residents, making our state the seventh most populated in the entire nation. To make sure we are prepared to seize the opportunities this growth will bring, state leaders must ask an important question: are our transportation and infrastructure networks ready to take on this future demand?
A few years ago, the answer to that question for our transportation network was a resounding “no.” In 2012, decaying transportation infrastructure had resulted in the 37th worst bridge safety rating and the 2nd highest fatality rating on non-Interstate rural roads of any state in the nation, while growing congestion meant North Carolina drivers spent an extra $6.5 billion annually in additional vehicle operating costs.
Recognizing the challenge, in 2015, the North Carolina Chamber and the business community successfully fought to encourage elected leaders to secure the first true long-term transportation funding reform measures passed in North Carolina since 1989. These reforms paved the way for 1.5 million new direct and indirect jobs for our state over the next 15 years and secured a transportation future that will keep our commerce lifelines flowing for decades to come.
Like our transportation network, North Carolina’s rich landscape, natural resources, and existing physical infrastructure are vital assets that we must harness if we hope to ensure a strong economic future for all North Carolinians. The North Carolina Chamber is committed to building on the long-term transportation reform measures we helped secure in 2015 in order to improve the rest of our physical infrastructure – including water and sewer, energy and broadband – and make sure we can continue to fully utilize these valuable assets in the global race for jobs.
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