Area leaders discuss 6 transportation priorities

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Area leaders from all over the Cape Fear met today to discuss priorities for transportation projects in the region.

The Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is made up of 13 members from all over the area. This fall, Director Mike Kozloski said they established the top six priority projects for the area. Today, the goal was to discuss strategies for the best way to approach them.

The Hampstead Bypass, the Railroad Realignment Project, the Independence Boulevard Extension, re-establishing the rail line from Wallace to Castle Hayne and increasing direct flights to ILM are considered the top six.

The $1 billion Cape Fear Crossing or the Skyway Project got the most attention during the discussion. The Cape Fear Crossing has been talked about for years, but it has never been able to get funding. One of the board members commented saying the project would cost the state the whole transportation budget for at least three years. Other members threw out other ways to try to get funding or to do the project in sections.

New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield said they should scrap trying to bring more direct flights in the area all together.

Some of the board members said they should just focus on three. Board member and Brunswick County Commissioner Frank Williams said they have to address the whole transportation puzzle.

“That’s very important, because transportation and citizens’ movements don’t stop at county and city lines, so this is designed to make sure we focus on big picture projects that will impact this region 20 and 30 years down the road, because it’s so easy to get caught up in what comes next week than to think about what the next generation is going to deal with,” Williams said.

The board did not finalize anything today. They agreed to re-visit the discussion again at the next meeting in January.

Categories: Brunswick, Local, New Hanover, Pender

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