WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills authored by Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) to designate several highways in eastern North Carolina as “future interstates.” The Route to Opportunity and Development (ROAD) Act (H.R. 2211) and Military Corridor Transportation Improvement Act (H.R. 1844) were passed as part of the six-year surface transportation bill by a vote of 363-64. The House-passed surface transportation bill will now go to conference with the Senate and, if approved, both of Butterfield’s transportation bills will be signed into law by President Obama.
“These bills are key elements of my vision to support the future of transportation in our region, and will, among other things reduce traffic congestion, improve access, and pave the way for job creation and further economic development in eastern North Carolina and Virginia,” said Butterfield.
The ROAD Act would designate portions of U.S. Highways 17 and 64 through Rocky Mount, Williamston, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina as a “future interstate.” Specifically, H.R. 2211 guarantees that the corridor connecting Raleigh and Norfolk is built to interstate standards, that the route travels through eastern North Carolina, and that U.S. Highways 17 and 64 are prioritized when allocating funding for federal highways.
The Military Corridor Transportation Improvement Act would designate portions of U.S. Highways 70 and 117 as high priority corridors and as “future interstates” to better connect Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the North Carolina Global TransPark, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, and the Port of Morehead City with the rest of North Carolina and the eastern seaboard.
“Improving our transportation infrastructure, spurring economic development, and improving travel for eastern North Carolinians is vital to the long-term growth of our region,” said Butterfield. “The passage of the ROAD Act and the Military Corridor Transportation Improvement Act will help better connect many communities across eastern North Carolina with Raleigh, the Port of Virginia, and the Port of Morehead City.”
The Federal Highway Administration estimates that $1 billion in transportation funding can support approximately 30,000 jobs which would be critical to economic development in eastern North Carolina. Passing legislation to designate the highways as a future interstate can lead to modernization and investment in the region’s highway infrastructure.