Last night, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC), and Representatives G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Walter Jones (R-NC), introduced the Eastern North Carolina Gateway Act of 2016 – legislation to improve Eastern North Carolina’s highway system by designating portions of US Highway 264 as an interstate highway and by creating north-south interstate access for a new Eastern North Carolina Gateway Corridor generally along US Highway 13 and NC Highway 11.
“This legislation is a direct result of bipartisan coordination among members of the North Carolina delegation to modernize and improve North Carolina’s infrastructure,” said Senator Tillis. “Designating US Highway 264 as an interstate and creating interstate access along US Highway 13 and NC Highway 11 would be bring a much needed improvement to the transportation corridor serving Greenville and the surrounding area, and would support Eastern North Carolina’s efforts to increase economic development and accessibility.”
“The strength of North Carolina’s highway infrastructure is critical to moving our economy forward. Interstate highway connectivity is essential for connecting citizens and communities, moving goods to market, and supporting and creating jobs,” said Senator Burr. “Greenville is such an important part of Eastern North Carolina, and I’m hopeful that this legislation will help this area expand on its reputation as one of Eastern North Carolina’s major economic centers.”
“The Eastern North Carolina Gateway Act will enable the Greenville metropolitan area- which is home to more than 170,000 people- to continue its emergence as a leading economic, educational, and cultural hub,” said Congressman Butterfield. “It will help spur long-term economic development, trade, and tourism in Greenville and surrounding areas, including the future Woodard Parkway Industrial Park in Wilson. This legislation is a complement to my previously enacted ROAD Act and Military Corridor Transportation Improvement Act and builds on my vision to better connect eastern North Carolina with Raleigh, the Port at Morehead City, and the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.”
“The Eastern North Carolina Gateway Act will support the long-term growth of our area by connecting Eastern North Carolina’s businesses to other key centers of commerce throughout our state and region,” said Congressman Jones. “The third district has long been known for innovation across a wide range of industries. It’s crucial that we continue to support this growth by ensuring Eastern North Carolinians have access to high-quality infrastructure.”
Greenville is the 10th largest city in North Carolina, and the largest city in North Carolina without an interstate highway. The Eastern North Carolina Gateway Act of 2016 will obtain an interstate designation from the U.S. 264/64 split in Zebulon to Greenville, and create north-south interstate access with a new Eastern North Carolina Gateway Corridor generally along US Highway 13 and NC Highway 11. This designation will improve transportation connectivity and economic development in Eastern North Carolina.
The legislation is H.R. 6105 in the House and S. 3378 in the Senate; the text can be viewed online here.