North Carolina lawmakers seek place for US 70 in interstate system

Members of North Carolina's Congressional delegation recently introduced two bipartisan bills to create the Military Corridor Transportation Improvement Act that would guarantee that the U.S. 70 corridor in South Carolina will be adopted into the interstate system.

To be considered for the bill, U.S. 70 must first meet the standards of interstate regulations, including a demonstration that it could better connect Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the North Carolina Global TransPark and the Port of Morehead City along with all of North Carolina and the state's eastern seaboard.

"We appreciate the support of the N.C. Congressional Delegation for the Governor's 25 Year Vision, specifically this focus on the Highway 70 corridor that will strengthen military connections and enhance freight movement to and from one of our state's vital ports," Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation Tony Tata said.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced the bills, which Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) co-sponsored. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) introduced the bills in the House, where Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) co-sponsored them.

“The Military Corridor Transportation Improvement Act is a true bipartisan effort to support North Carolina’s military installations and complement the state’s 25-year transportation-improvement plan, which in turn will generate economic development, provide a boost for local communities and create good-paying jobs,” Tillis said.

The bill also labels U.S. 117/Interstate 795 from U.S. 70 to I-40 and U.S. 70 from I-40 to the Port at Morehead City as “high priority corridors” as well as “future interstates.”

“Improvements to this infrastructure is critically important to local communities and will make this high transit corridor safer, faster and more modern, ensuring that North Carolina’s economy continues to be one of the most vibrant in the country,” Burr said.

Butterfield said improving transportation in eastern North Carolina is vital to strengthening the state’s economy, improving military readiness and commerce and reducing traffic congestion.