On Monday, NC Chamber president and CEO Lew Ebert joined U.S. Sen. Richard Burr for a tour of the Vulcan Quarry located in the Rowan County community of Gold Hill. Like many other Vulcan-operated facilities across our state, the Gold Hill site specializes in producing the crushed stone commonly used as an aggregate in road construction projects, providing a significant jobs boost to the local community. As the senator met with quarry officials and workers, the conversation turned to focus on one of the most important growth issues facing our state and our nation – the long-term transportation funding crisis.
For the NC Chamber, North Carolina’s transportation crisis has been at the front and center of our advocacy efforts in 2015. As the long session convened, we launched the “NC Can’t Afford to Wait” campaign to encourage our leaders to work toward long-term transportation solutions, and the Chamber Foundation reported on the results of a third-party study it commissioned that identified 16 alternative options to secure recurring funds. Throughout Monday’s tour, Sen. Burr echoed the Chamber’s state-level advocacy message as he emphasized the need for a long-term investment plan for federal transportation projects. Support for these projects comes from the federal Highway Trust Fund, which has relied for far too long on short-term revenue injections to remain solvent. Addressing senior quarry officials, the senator expressed his hope that Congress would reauthorize a long-term highway funding bill in 2015.
NC Chamber board members Tom Carroll (Vulcan Materials), Jerry Cook (Hanesbrands) and Patrick Coughlin (Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce) were also on site Monday. They briefed Sen. Burr on their continuing work with the “NC Can’t Afford to Wait” initiative, which was recently bolstered by a three-pronged advertising campaign hitting televisions, radios and mailboxes across North Carolina. We were encouraged by the commitment expressed by Sen. Burr throughout Monday’s dialogue to work toward long-term funding solutions for transportation at the federal level. As session continues in Raleigh, we believe that leaders in the General Assembly will be just as bold in their commitment to securing North Carolina’s long-term transportation funding needs in 2015.
Read a recent Wall Street Journal article on the challenges presented by our nation’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure, as revealed in recent reports from the national transportation research group, TRIP. Visit the links above to check out our latest transportation ads and go to www.nccantaffordtowait.com to let our elected leaders know that North Carolina can’t afford to wait on long-term transportation funding reform.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber