WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) is leading bipartisan efforts to upgrade Highway 74 into a modern interstate connecting Charlotte, Wilmington, and the challenged communities of southeastern North Carolina.
“Highway 74 connects the economic and transportation assets in Charlotte with the port in Wilmington,” explained Pittenger “In between are many challenged rural communities hit hard by international trade agreements and the loss of traditional industries.
“By upgrading Highway 74 to an interstate, we can attract new businesses to these rural communities who would benefit from North Carolina’s pro-business policies, dedicated workforce, and the easy access to both Charlotte and Wilmington,” Pittenger added.
Recently, Pittenger sent letters to over 400 local communities and community leaders asking for their thoughts on the “Interstate 74” concept. Response has been positive.
“For Scotland County to become competitive, we need Highway 74 to become interstate quality,” said Scotland County Economic Development Director Mark Ward. “Every ‘Request for Information’ I have completed asks how close the site is to an interstate. Companies are going to locate where their costs are low, and having to drive to another county to get to an interstate drives up their costs.”
Support from hardworking North Carolinians has also been strong. In an “instant poll” conducted by WSOC-TV on November 17, nearly 80 percent of respondents indicated support for the Interstate 74 concept (http://bit.ly/Interstate74).
“This idea is still in the conceptual stage. My goal is to work with local leaders on building support to move from idea to reality,” said Pittenger. “Charlotte-Douglas (International Airport) is building out a major intermodal transportation facility that will be key to creating new jobs in the region.
“Connecting Charlotte’s intermodal, Wilmington’s port, and the workforce in Monroe, Wadesboro, Rockingham, Laurinburg, and many southeastern North Carolina communities would spark major economic growth.”