Gov. Perdue accelerates completion of I-26 connector, five other highway projects

Gov. Bev Perdue announced today that she will accelerate the planned construction of six “urban loop” projects, including the proposed Interstate 26 connector in Asheville. Under the new schedule, the state will begin buying right-of-way by 2018, and start construction in 2020.

Speaking at a transportation summit in Greensboro, the governor said she would use bonds to accelerate the construction of the projects. Previously, the start date for the I-26 connector was unspecified, and the project unfunded. Perdue touted the economic impacts of the new construction.

The path of the proposed connector has remained a controversial issue, with competing plans endorsed by Asheville City Council, the Buncombe Board of Commissioners, the Asheville Design Center and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, among others. The issues have included the number of homes taken from the Burton Street Community and how well the connector works with downtown and multi-modal forms of transportation.

Full announcement below:

RALEIGH — Gov. Bev Perdue announced today at the Piedmont Triad Regional Transportation Summit in Greensboro a new plan to accelerate urban loop projects in six North Carolina cities. This plan moves critical transportation projects forward faster while sustaining and creating jobs.

“Investing in our state’s infrastructure is about jobs,” Gov. Perdue said. “Not only will it create jobs, but it also will build an efficient transportation network that will attract new businesses and bring more jobs to our state in the future.”

According to the Federal Highway Administration, every $1 million spent on transportation creates 30 jobs, and according to the construction industry, every dollar invested in transportation generates $6 in economic impact.

Using Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle, or GARVEE bonds, the plan significantly advances the purchase of right of way or the start of construction on urban loop projects in Asheville, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. GARVEE bonds allow the N.C. Department of Transportation to borrow against future federal funding.

Pre-construction for the work for future I-74 in Winston-Salem will take place in 2014 and NCDOT expects to ‘turn dirt’ in 2015. The urban loop program totals 353 miles, 140 of which are currently open to traffic. The estimated cost to build the remaining 213 miles is about $8 billion. At the previous funding rate, it would have taken more than 50 years to complete the program. 


Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

2 thoughts on “Gov. Perdue accelerates completion of I-26 connector, five other highway projects

  1. curmudgeon

    According to the Citizen Times, this construction would do nothing to the 240/26/40 junction or the Smokey Park Bridge. It would only add more lanes between them, at a cost of $111.3 million.

    Kinda like trying to fix a bottleneck by making the bottle bigger. WTF?

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.