KFP: State, regional, local leaders gather for transportation summit

by David Anderson
Kinston Free Press

More than 30 state, regional and local leaders gathered for a summit in Kinston on Friday to lay the groundwork for determining the best methods for improving transportation in Eastern North Carolina and developing the economy for the coming decades.

For the foreseeable future, those planners will also have to deal with an ever-shrinking funding picture.

“I can tell you, we’re really at a crossroads in transportation in North Carolina, in the nation,” Jim Trogdon, chief operating officer for the N.C. Department of Transportation, told the group, which assembled in a training room at the Kinston Public Services Complex.

Trogdon talked about the need to develop a regional consensus among local communities, and an effort at the state level to divide North Carolina into three regions — eastern, Piedmont and western — and develop transportation solutions tailored to each region’s needs.

“Eastern North Carolina could hopefully rally around a goal, strategies and solutions that are consistent with how Eastern North Carolina does business,” Trogdon said.

He explained that North Carolina cannot focus on competing with neighboring states to grow jobs, but must work to compete with other nations economically, and transportation networks in Eastern North Carolina must be improved with that goal in mind.

“What we have been doing produces the same results, and we really have to do something different,” Trogdon said.

Lenoir County Commissioner J. Mac Daughety, interim chairman of the Lenoir County Transportation Committee, asked Trogdon: “How can we come together to help you?”

The DOT leader said local people must do “whatever it takes to get some kind of consensus.”

“That is really driven by people, not by anything that I know,” he added.

John Chaffee, president and CEO of the Kinston-based North Carolina’s Eastern Region Development Commission, said “we have to think locally and put it in a regional context,” and determine “what kind of transportation systems we need to deploy to achieve that kind of connectivity.”

Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy, who also sits on the county’s Transportation Committee, said, by the end of the meeting, “the beginnings of a southeastern North Carolina” coalition had been developed.

“Our assets in the East are our military bases, our two ports, the Global TransPark, East Carolina University, our medical school and UNC-Wilmington, and how to tie all of those organizations, all of those assets together through transportation will be crucial in industrial recruitment and job creation,” he said.

David Anderson can be reached at 252-559-1077 or danderson@freedomenc.com.

Video: NCDOT Public Meetings on Hwy 70 Bypass

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9/18/2011 UPDATE: Because of Hurricane Irene these two meetings have been changed to 9/20 @ KHS Cafeteria and 9/22 @ City of Kinston Public Service Complex

NCDOT website: http://www.ncdot.gov/projects/kinstonbypass/

On 8/23/2011 I posted:
Public Informational Workshops are coming up regarding the proposed Hwy 70 bypass of Kinston.  Comments will be accepted.

Monday, August 29th 4 -7 pm at the Kinston High School Cafeteria
Tuesday, August 30th 4-7 pm at the Public Services Complex on Hwy 258 South

KFP: Pioneer Hi-Bred officials hold groundbreaking for new Kinston facility

Janet S. Carter / The Free Press 
From left, Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy speaks to Greg Wichmann, Director Southern Business Unit of Pioneer Hi-Bred and Keith Crisco, Secretary, N.C. Department of Commerce on Wednesday as Norris Tolson, back left, speaks with George Graham, the chairman of the Lenoir County Board of Commissioners at the Pioneer Hi-Bred Kinston Research Center groundbreaking ceremony at the Industrial Park on U.S. 70. 

by David Anderson
Staff Writer

A groundbreaking for the U.S. 70 West Industrial Park’s newest tenant was held Wednesday, as state, local and company leaders celebrated construction of a Pioneer Hi-Bred crop research center.

“Pioneer Hi-Bred is joining an impressive list of companies that call Kinston home,” N.C. Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco stated. “The research they will be doing at this facility will directly benefit agribusiness, which plays such a significant role in the economic development of Lenoir County and North Carolina.”

The Iowa-based agricultural firm, a subsidiary of DuPont, will spend $2.3 million to build a 26,000 square foot facility on 6 acres off Enterprise Boulevard. A temporary research facility was established in the DuPont plant off N.C. 11 North in 2009.

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