Some 1,100 leaders representing business, academic, governmental and community interests gathered in Raleigh yesterday and today for a sold-out forum on providing for the infrastructure of the state, sponsored by the Institute for Emerging Issues based at N.C. State University.
With the state’s rapidly growing population expected to surpass that of Ohio and Michigan by 2030, the roads, schools, water supplies and other infrastructure necessities are feeling the strain, as outlined in a Feb. 9 report in The News & Observer of Raleigh. Projected dollar needs include $9.8 billion for public-school construction, $65 billion for roads, and 16.6 billion to create and maintain water supplies. And then there are the 8,300 N.C. bridges slated for major repairs or replacement. The anticipated $1.5 billion in federal stimulus money for the state pales in comparison.
Quoted in the N&O article, IEI Director Anita Brown-Graham outlines the problem: “We are probably feeling much more squeezed in North Carolina because we are trying to accommodate more people on an obsolete and sometime dangerous infrastructure platform.” Xpress will report on the ideas and potential solutions that emerge from the forum.
— Nelda Holder, associate editor