Securing Billions of Disaster Relief for North Carolinians and Communities

Hurricane Florence

Days before Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina in 2018, Thom was already working behind the scenes with Congressional leaders to ensure the state would have the federal resources it needed to respond to the devastating storm in the short-term and the federal resources it would need to recover in the long-term.

Thom led the North Carolina Congressional Delegation’s request for federal long-term financial assistance and successfully advocated for a $1.14 billion down payment of Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program funding. The CDBG-DR grants will support a variety of disaster recovery activities in North Carolina, including housing redevelopment and rebuilding, business assistance, economic revitalization, and infrastructure repair.

Hurricane Matthew

Before Hurricane Matthew even made landfall in North Carolina in October 2016, Thom was already at work, contacting Congressional leaders to ensure North Carolina would receive recovery funding and resources in a timely manner.

Thom spearheaded the state’s Congressional Delegation’s efforts and delivered, securing more than $400 million in the form of Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding which was authorized by large bipartisan majorities in Congress. This federal assistance provided Hurricane Matthew victims with housing redevelopment and rebuilding, business assistance, economic revitalization, and infrastructure repair.

Thom also successfully secured tens of millions of dollars of Federal Highway Administration funds for the repair and reconstruction of roads that were damaged by Hurricane Matthew and the subsequent flooding.


Thom believes infrastructure is one of government’s fundamental responsibilities, which is why he has made modernizing North Carolina’s infrastructure among his top priorities in the Senate. Thom has worked across the aisle with his colleagues to secure numerous long-term transportation and infrastructure projects that will make our roads, ports, airports, and highways safer, ease traffic congestion and encourage more economic investment in North Carolina.

Widening I-95, designating US 70 as future Interstate 42

Thom worked on a bipartisan basis with his colleagues to secure $147 million in federal funding to improve key roads in Eastern North Carolina. These dollars will go toward widening parts of Interstate 95 through Dunn, Fayetteville, and Lumberton and upgrading sections of US 70 toward Morehead City to create a new Interstate 42.

These enhancements will not only decrease traffic congestion and increase access to North Carolina’s military bases, but will also provide the fiber optic cable infrastructure necessary to improve broadband access in these areas.

The projects will decrease traffic congestion, improve emergency preparedness during natural disasters and enhance access to four military bases. 300 miles (480 kilometers) of fiber optic cable will also be installed along both highways.

Associated Press

Leading a successful effort to designate N.C. highways as High Priority Corridors

Thom introduced bipartisan legislation and led the successful effort to designate North Carolina highways as high priority corridors. Designating a highway as a high priority corridor paves the way for it to become an interstate in the future.

The following communities can expect increased federal dollars going toward significant infrastructure improvements:

  • The Raleigh-Norfolk Corridor stretches from Raleigh through Rocky Mount, Williamston, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina to Norfolk, Virginia.
  • U.S. Route 117/Interstate Route 795 which runs from US Route 70 in Goldsboro to Interstate Route 40 west of Faison, North Carolina and US Route 70 from its intersection with Interstate Route 40 in Garner to the Port at Morehead City, North Carolina.

I am pleased the Senate was able to pass a highway bill that will produce long-lasting benefits to North Carolina, including reduced traffic congestion, improved access to military bases, and increased investments in our state’s transportation and infrastructure. I will continue to work across the aisle with my colleagues from North Carolina to ensure the Raleigh-Norfolk and US-70 corridors soon become part of the Interstate system.

Senator Thom Tillis

Designating US 264 As Future Interstate 587

Thom has worked with his colleagues from the state’s Congressional Delegation to ease congestion and improve Eastern North Carolina’s highway system. Establishing US 264 as Interstate 587 will significantly improve the highway and interstate travel between Zebulon and Greenville, North Carolina. These upgrades are especially important to the Eastern part of the state and will enhance these communities’ emergency preparedness in the event of a natural disaster.

North Carolina’s U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, as well as local congressmen U.S. Reps. G.K. Butterfield and Walter Jones, advocated for the designation… Interstate 587 will connect North Carolina’s largest city currently not located near an interstate highway. The proposed project will run from Greenville to the U.S. 264 and U.S. 64 highway split in Zebulon. The area includes East Carolina University and job hubs for the region. Proponents say the future interstate will help Eastern North Carolina attract new industries and encourage economic investments from existing business.


Advancing North Carolina’s Transportation and Infrastructure Priorities

Thom has also been a staunch advocate for North Carolina towns, cities, and communities seeking federal assistance with transportation and infrastructure projects and has assisted them as they apply for federal grant programs. In 2018, due to Thom’s advocacy for the Tar Heel State, North Carolina received the third most federal BUILD grant (previously the TIGER program) funding in the nation.

The result has been a number of wins for communities across the state, including:
  • GoTriangle receiving $20 million to construct a new bus facility and structured parking to create a multimodal transit center in downtown Raleigh. The project includes an off-street bus transfer facility, pedestrian bridge, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) platform and other BRT infrastructure, on-street pedestrian improvements and wayfinding, traffic signal prioritization, and new rolling stock.
  • The City of Hickory receiving $17 million for infrastructure investment and road improvements. The project will develop an approximately 1.7-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail and a bridge over US 321, and construct a 1.2-mile complete streetscape loop in downtown Hickory that will add designated space for bicycles and pedestrians.
  • The North Carolina Department of Transportation receiving $23 million for its Growing Rural Economy and Agriculture through Transportation and Technology Enhancement or Replacement in North Carolina (GREATTER-NC) proposal. The project will replace approximately 77 bridges in need of repair across 17 rural counties. The project sponsor will also add broadband capabilities for transportation applications to appropriate bridges during construction.
  • The North Carolina Department of Transportation receiving a $19.9 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant for Raleigh. The project eliminates a railroad crossing by lowering the Blue Ridge Road from its current ground level to instead pass under the North Carolina Railroad (NCRR). It also reconfigures existing nearby intersections and adjacent access roadways.

This is an exciting day for GoTriangle, the City of Raleigh and our entire region because this facility is an important part of the transit network we are building together. We want to sincerely thank Senators Tillis and Burr as well as Congressman Price for their strong leadership and partnership in helping secure this grant that will enhance bus connectivity and spur new economic, job and housing opportunities for our community.

Jeff Mann

GoTriangle President and CEO

The $17 million BUILD grant is a major federal investment that will improve Hickory’s infrastructure and better connect our region. I’m grateful for Senators Tillis and Burr for working directly with the City of Hickory over the last year, their support was instrumental in securing the grant.

Hank Guess

Hickory Mayor