Transportation and infrastructure are critical to a community’s viability. These two factors are critical elements at the cornerstone of decision making for expanding and relocating industries. It can be a shining beacon for a community or the black spot on an otherwise spotless image. As economic developers, we keep this at the forefront of our consideration and planning when reaching out to industries. It is always refreshing and exciting to hear about transportation and infrastructure improvements in our area.
The Wayne County Chamber of Commerce held a transportation forum today and the entire staff of the WCDA had the pleasure of attending. We were treated to three informative presentations from local, regional, and state representatives. The common theme in all three presentations is that we can expect improvements in infrastructure in Eastern NC that will directly and positively impact transportation. The keynote speaker was the recently appointed Secretary of Transportation, Tony Tata.
Mr. Tata split his time between telling us about himself and the goals of the transportation department. What we learned about him was that he was an accomplished man with a great sense of humor. All jokes aside, he did get down to business explaining the governor’s initiatives and his roll in implemented and accomplishing them. Mr. Tata discussed several points but the one that had our ears perked up was the desire to leverage infrastructure to increase the value of economic competition. As Mr. Tata explained,
this means more projects which means more jobs.
There was another point made that was of particular interest. Mr. Tata talked about the desire to more fully utilize the ports and rails in North Carolina. He explained that manufacturers are using ports in Virginia and South Carolina. If we can equip our ports to handle the needs of our manufacturers, then we can help save them money. Money that can be reinvested into their businesses; money that can be used to create jobs. We all left feeling charged and excited for the progress slated for Eastern NC.