New Bern Sun Journal: U.S. 70 Corridor committee meets in Kinston

By Junious Smith III, Halifax Media Services

Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 at 20:59 PM.

KINSTON | Thursday’s U.S. 70 Corridor Commission meeting was more focused toward updates on the highway. The next meeting may be more centralized toward economic benefits — and sooner than what is expected.

Chairman Robin Comer said the next meeting was initially scheduled for July 17 in Morehead City, but due to the economic impact study going public in several weeks, the tentative date has been moved up to June 19. N.C. Department of Transportation and Department of Commerce officials are expected to attend.

“The objective of this meeting was to stay updated,” Comer said. “I’m excited about how the progress is going and we’ll have the economic impact study coming out in four or five weeks, where the benefits the corridor provides economically can reflect in that. Highway 70 is the second best highway economically behind (Interstate) 40.”

John Rouse, the DOT Division 2 engineer for Kinston, said there will be a corridor design public hearing for the city slated for this year.

“It will happen in either late summer or early fall,” Rouse said. “We’ve also got a draft environmental impact statement which will come out in early 2015. We’re doing this so the public can study and comment, then we’ll take their information and make revisions where they’re necessary. We have a record of decision as to the route in 2016, and it is currently unfunded.”

Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy said one of the main reasons he attended the meeting was to learn about the progress of the Global TransPark.

“GTP is creating a tremendous opportunity, and we need to do anything we can at a local level to support its job creation efforts,” Murphy said. “For example, just (Wednesday), the Lenoir County transportation committee voted to make three of our top five priorities related to the quad-east interstate loop concept.”

Durwood Stephenson, director of the U.S. 70 Corridor Commission, said another significant focus is the crash rate, which is 465 percent greater than on I-40.

“We have a lot of bad accidents due to the traffic congestion,” Stephenson said. The crash data showed 28 U.S. 70 fatalities compared six on I-40 during the charted period.

“Our objective was to make Highway 70 a freeway,” he said. “It would be great to have it as an interstate, but that’s not sufficient at this time. We just want to reduce the congestion, which will lower the crash rate.”

Rouse also provided an update on the U.S. 70 Gallent’s Channel Bridge project in Carteret County for which piling driving is scheduled to begin in June and the bridge completed by 2018; the U.S. 70 Havelock Bypass with the final Environmental Impact Study to be completed soon and right-of-way acquisition to begin in 2015; and the Slocum Road Interchange to Cherry Point air station, which is funded and work expected to begin in March 2017.

There was also a presentation in the meeting from Build N.C. Greer Beaty, one of the 501C4 lobbying organization’s founders, said the goal of Build N.C. is to be a strong advocate for transportation projects. Jim Trogdon, retired DOT chief deputy secretary, is a member of  Build N.C. advisory board.

“We were just coming to let the committee know we exist, and we can be a voice in support,” Beaty said. “A project can be a long process, and there are so many factors are involved in it.”

Lenoir County Commissioner J. Mac Daughety said he liked the overall vibe and chemistry of the board.

“It was a very positive meeting,” Daughety said. “We’ve got significant issues we need to deal with as far as funding is concerned, but this group is unified.”

 

Junious Smith III is a reporter for the Kinston Free Press. Sue Book of the Sun Journal in New Bern contributed to this report.

http://www.newbernsj.com/news/local/u-s-70-corridor-committee-meets-in-kinston-1.320739

KFP: Kinston mayoral candidates take center stage

KFP1016_mayoralforum_1

Mayoral candidate Ralph Clark, left, makes his opening statements, while John Marks, center, and B.J. Murphy listen at the mayoral forum Tuesday at community television station TACC-9 on Queen Street.

Sara Pezzoni / The Free Press

Kinston’s three candidates for mayor each had their lone opportunity to address viewers on the issues of the city on Tuesday evening.

Ralph Clark, John Marks and B.J. Murphy spoke at the TACC-9 community television station for a mayoral forum, as the three are looking to be appointed into office by the people after the Nov. 5 election.

Clark, who has spent 32 years in public office, including eight as the former city manager of Kinston, believes his extensive experience and knowledge would be vital in helping the community he has called home since 1999.

“Kinston has been great to me as a city manager and a citizen,” Clark said. “I have a lot to give, and hope (the city) allow(s) me to be the mayor.”

Clark also talked about education in his opening statement, acknowledging that the city council would not be able to intervene in the decision-making process.

“I would be remiss not to mention something about education,” Clark said. “Even though the city has nothing to do with the education in the community, it has to be supported.”

Marks, the pastor and founder of Increasing the Faith Ministries, believes Kinston needs to move in an alternate direction in fixing some of the issues in the community.

“We do need change,” Marks said. “Everybody that I ask or come in contact with, they are always saying that the city needs to be changed. I’m just grateful that our city and the leadership that is present are still doing things, but we still need solutions to a lot of problems. I just want to be an improvement on assets to the city of Kinston.”

Murphy, the incumbent seeking his second term in office, used his opening statement to speak on some of the positives he has seen in Kinston since he became the mayor in 2009.

“I have never been more excited about the opportunities before our community than I am right now,” Murphy said. “Our community is growing, and there are a lot of positive things happening. Just over the past four years, we have had a major focus on redeveloping our community, on making sure we have better streets, and we’ve had a more accountable government than ever before.”

Early voting starts on Thursday, and will run until Nov. 2, with Election Day on Nov. 5.

 

Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 andJunious.Smith@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.

For more information on reruns of the city council and mayor forums, visit tacc9.com.

http://www.kinston.com/news/local/kinston-mayoral-candidates-take-center-stage-1.219056?tc=cr

KFP: Council delays hearing on development ordinance

By Junious Smith III / Staff Writer 

One highlight of the Kinston City Council meeting Tuesday was the further delay of a much anticipated overview.

The Unified Development Ordinance public hearing has been moved to Oct. 21, after previously being slated for Sept. 16. Planning Director Adam Short went through some of the points in the UDO overview in front of the council, saying there were only minor changes in the ordinance, other than a few grammatical and spelling errors.

“It was a time management thing,” Short said. “Given the amount of notice we had to do and the overall volume of information coordinating, we felt like there was no rush. We’ve got a little more time for planning things out and it gives the public more notice.”

Kinston City Manager Tony Sears has been among those ready to have the ordinance brought to the board.

“We’ve wrapped up the community meetings with the UDO,” Sears said. “It’s been almost a year since we started it and the staff is really excited to review it in front of the council.”

Sears was also interested in the grant opportunity brought before the council about body cameras for members of the Kinston Department of Public Safety.

“The cameras are the most economic and efficient way to provide officer safety,” Sears said. “Car cameras are more expensive and don’t give the best coverage for officers.”

Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy saw the development of a new Riverwalk as one of the more important parts of the meeting. The council approved the process to seek a grant for the trail.

“The City of Kinston and Lenoir County Transportation Committee worked diligently last spring on updating our pedestrian plan,” Murphy said. “The project should score high. It involves being environmentally friendly, encourages exercise and we have multifaceted partnerships with the city of Kinston, Lenoir County, DOT, Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and other state organizations.

Bill Ellis, director of the Kinston/Lenoir County Parks and Recreation Department, believes the grant will be available for the trail, which will span from the African-American Music Trail to Pearson Park.

“The trail will be 10 feet wide and will be for walking, cycling, horse carriage and anything else,” Ellis said. “I feel confident we’ll get the grant.”

The next city council meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 16.

 

Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 andJunious.Smith@Kinston.com. Follow him on Kinston at @JuniousSmithIII.

Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 21:07 PM.

GoldsboroDailyNews.com – Highway 70 Corridor Commission Questioned

Highway 70 Corridor Commission Questioned

BY  · AUGUST 19, 2013

A meeting notice for the US 70 Corridor Commission, and the subsequent agenda mailed to invited parties, sparked a flurry of emails between Chairman Robin Comer and BJ Murphy, Mayor of Kinston.

I spoke with BJ Murphy, Mayor of Kinston regarding his concerns and he was particularly bothered by the agenda going out without an attachment or supporting documentation on what the line item “Organizational Structure” would be. He believes the Commission is planning to turn the present organization into a lobbying entity. In addition, as it presently stands, only counties are allowed to have representation on the board – not municipalities.

The background on the Highway 70 Corridor Commission is as follows:

HWY. 70 Corridor Commission began as a County Commission, created by representatives from 5 counties to forward the progress of Highway 70 from Raleigh to the coast. The 70 corridor has been an NCDOT backed project, as it was included in the Transportation Improvement Plan more than 10 years ago.

The project is well under way with some sections complete and others in mid-phase.

Each county pays $25,000 a year to be a part of the commission and 4 county government officials from each are on the board.

$90,000 of that money pays Durwood Stephenson as the executive director. Stephenson is a former NCDOT Board member.

The following emails capture Mayor Murphy’s concerns, and the responses by Chairman Comer and one other Commission member:

“Chairman Comer and Highway 70 Corridor Commission,

The agenda for Thursday’s meeting includes an item on “Organizational Structure”. My understanding is that the cities along highway 70 are financially impacted by the proposed document. On behalf of the City of Kinston, I would respectfully request that this item be limited to discussion only until our elected body is able to review the proposed document. The Kinston City Council would be happy to review this proposal at our next regularly scheduled board meeting.

Respectfully,

BJ Murphy

Mayor, City of Kinston”

 “Mr. Murphy,

No city is financially impacted at all.  We have language that allows the cities to participate “at will” as an official member. This would be at a rate considerably less than counties participate.

I personally would like the cities to commit their input as I feel their presence I’m important, but it is at will.

My goal is to get the organization official ASAP, which hopefully is today.

 Robin Comer

Carteret County Commissioner”

“Mr. Chairman,

Counties collect taxes from city taxpayers also. To ask cities to either join at will or to have their respective county pay more from our tax dollars seems to be an issue worth having a discussion at the municipal level. My only request is that the cities be given the right to review this.

However, if your organization moves forward regardless of this request, then I would ask a revision be made that would negate the extra tax payment and make one of the four county appointees a municipal appointee. We all save tax dollars and your organization gets input from cities without growing the size of the board.

Respectfully,

BJ Murphy

Mayor, City of Kinston”

“Mr. Mayor,

I agree with Chairman Comer. We have worked on this with the blessing of the entire Corridor Commission for almost 4 months. We have shared with our members the basic details of what we were trying to achieve with this document.

Chairman Comer is correct , there is no financial impact on any entity by approving or not approving this document.

Much like our communities association in almost all of these coalitions or associations we aren’t committed to any financial impact unless we choose with our individual governing body.

In this document the only financial consideration is the cost of the option of membership. Once we finalize the document them all entities should take that documentation back to the body they represent and then that body will have the option of making a financial commitment or not.

This document doesn’t commit any municipality or entity to a financial commitment, it only outlines what that financial commitment would be if said entity chose the right of membership.

I support a vote today on this item so we can move on to other important business of the Commission.

Respectfully

J Mac Daughety

President

The Executive Search Corporation

Office 252-527-5900

Mobile 252-939-2957

TheExecutiveSearchCorp@gmail.com

www.PulpandPaperjobs.com

Twitter: PaperJobs

Skype: J.Mac.Daughety”

“Mac,

Over the past four months has this Organizational document been presented to the Lenoir County Transportation Committee, Lenoir County Board of Commissioners and/or the Kinston City Council for any input or review? We had a Lenoir County Transportation Committee meeting yesterday with a quorum present. In the past, all transportation related matters have been taken under advisement by the LCTC, which met yesterday.

All I’ve asked is that the City Council be given an opportunity to review this document. This document was not supplied with the Agenda for the 70 Corridor meeting being held today nor with our LCTC agenda, but has been worked on for four months.

I’m not understanding why this request is being given so much push back. At a time when the State is trying to take politics out of transportation, the US 70 Corridor Commission is becoming a lobbying entity made up of local government and taxpayer dollars to lobby DOT and state legislators with very little checks and balances from those very organizations.     

BJ”

super 70 corridor

KFP: Mayor, City Manager looking for answers from Highway 70 Corridor Commission

By Junious Smith III / Staff Writer 

With the U.S. 70 bypass being worked on for the future, the Corridor Commission wanted to solidify its structure in the present.

On Thursday, the Highway 70 Corridor Commission approved a document to formalize its bylaws and to also allow municipalities to join the board. Before the approval, only counties could be a part of the commission.

Robin Comer — Chairman of the Highway 70 Corridor Commission and a Carteret County Commissioner — said the board wanted to have a language on the document to have more members in case the municipalities wanted to play a part in the decision.

“This used to be all initiated by the counties,” Comer said. “I feel like the Highway 70 corridor is important to the east, as well as transportation is concerned and municipalities should take a strong interest in it.”

Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy wanted the vote postponed until he could converse with administrators about the possible negative effects it could have on the city, but the commission approved it anyway.

“The city is concerned about the possibility of our taxpayers, who are also county taxpayers, having to pay extra money to get the same results,” Murphy said. “Therefore, our only request was to delay the vote so the Kinston City Council or Lenoir County Transportation Committee could at least review a document that they haven’t seen.”

The commission didn’t feel inclined to make alterations in its push to solidify the bylaws.

“ Kinston asked questions during the meeting, but Kinston isn’t a member,” Comer said. “We fielded their questions, but I didn’t feel obliged to delay the process. This has been talked about and worked on for almost a year.”

Comer also said the commission would be more than happy to work with Kinston in finding a healthy compromise.

“Things can be changed in the future to work it toward everyone’s benefit,” Comer said. “We will work with them as they want to work with us. We’re not making laws. We’re a group advocating the corridor and we just want to keep this project on track.”

Lenoir County Commissioner J. Mac Daughety — also the vice chair of the Highway 70 Corridor Commission — said the commission had been in place for about five years and needed the structure in the organization.

“This started as a loosely organized coalition without the necessary structure and bylaws,” Daughety said. “It was brought to our attention when we tried to seek funding for economic impact study, which would be a huge economic benefit for all cities and counties around the Highway 70 Corridor. We needed to do things in an organized manner, which is the standard for boards and commissions.”

In a statement to The Free Press earlier this month, Daughety said a route will be picked in late 2014 or early 2015 and the construction may start as early as 2017.

“They’ve narrowed down to about five routes as of now, but there isn’t a definite determinant on one,” Comer said. “We’re still looking at a number of best routes, but there are a lot of factors to analyze, like environmental archeology and land acquisition. We’re still at a study stage and there would be a lot of public input on that.”

Kinston City Manager Tony Sears said there haven’t been any discussions about the document because the administrators hadn’t had the opportunity to take a look at it.

“The city council and city of Kinston has not seen the document,” Sears said. “It has only recently been available.”

Sears did acknowledge how Lenoir County has shown a willingness to incorporate Kinston into the commission.

“ Lenoir County was gracious enough to allow the city of Kinstonto have a seat at the table, and we really appreciate the relationship we have with the county,” Sears said. “One of the points I made in (Thursday’s) meeting was any municipality who does the $10,000 buy-in should be able to select who they want to serve, instead of putting forth a slate of individuals for them to select from.”

 

Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 andJunious.Smith@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.

 

Published: Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 17:08 PM.

KFP: City council, Kinston Hospitality agree to major deal

By Junious Smith III, Staff Writer 

A major investment agreed to by the Kinston City Council on Monday will bring revenue to residents with minimal risks.

Shortly after its city council meeting, the council had a closed session to deliberate on the economic development agreement with Kinston Hospitality, LLC. When the council came out, an $11.5 million agreement for a hotel in Kinston was reached.

“A new place would provide more revenue in the city,” Kinston Mayor Pro Tem Joe Tyson said. “It will also make the hotel prices more competitive. We have three or four hotels and there are people who come out for family reunions or meetings, only to go to Greenville because their rates are lower.”

The development is expected to provide at least 25 full-time jobs within a year’s time. Broker Walter Poole of Poole Realty is part of the team that will incur the $11.5 million cost for construction and installation.

“We’re working with an investment group in Washington and they have a contract with Northwest corner, which is about three acres of land,” Poole said. “They have a franchise agreement to build a four-story upscale hotel. They were looking for help from the city and they agreed to a plan over a three-year period of tap fees. Once the land is conveyed, we’ll begin construction.”

The city will provide connection of the property to the city’s water and sewer system through tap fees for domestic water, fire line and sanitary sewer services. The city will pay about $12,900 for those services.

Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy believes the hotel will truly benefit residents.

“This project helps create jobs, increases our tax base at little risk to the taxpayers,” Murphy said.

The city council voted unanimously on everything else brought to them in the meeting, including agreeing on the extension of Smithfield Way. The project is a joint effort between the city and Lenoir County to open up a corridor, relieving congestion on Hill Farm Road and U.S. Highway 70.

“That would be a plus because of the new industries coming in,” Councilman Sammy Aiken said. “You need roadways to attract companies and need good entrance ways.”

Another endeavor of importance included the authorization to execute an agreement with the N.C. Department of Transportation for the Queen Street Bridge Replacement Project. As a result, South Queen Street will be closed off next year until all repairs can be made.

“Although closing all lanes of traffic is not ideal, completing the project in half the time as well as receiving permanent improvements is necessary,” Murphy said. “This is a long-term gain.”

The council also took a look at the Utility Development Ordinance and will later update some of the regulations in the ordinance.

“We’re upgrading regulations and trying to satisfy citizens who aren’t in favor of solar panels,” Aiken said. “A lot of communities don’t want solar panels in the area, so the UDO explains how many feet from neighborhoods the panels can be, so they won’t be seen.”

Overall, Tyson was pleased with the amount of progress made in the open and closed sessions.

“We did some things that we hadn’t been able to get done in a while,” Tyson said. “It was good to wrap everything up and address what we needed to.”

The next city council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 5.

 

Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 andJunious.Smith@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.

 

Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 23:16 PM.

Greenville Reflector: Interstate proposal targets growth

By Wesley Brown
The Daily Reflector
Saturday, March 2

A $300 million, 100-mile Interstate loop proposal to connect airports, medical centers, industry and college campuses in eastern North Carolina was recognized by state legislators last week as a way to promote regional growth.

Developed by Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas, the highway system is being branded as the foundation of “Quad East,” a cooperative network of communities united to give the coastal plain a competitive economic advantage, much like the alliances formed in the Piedmont Triad, Research Triangle and Charlotte Metro areas.

The Greenville City Council plans to take the lead on Thursday by passing a resolution in support of the measure, with the hope that municipalities and boards of commissioners in Pitt, Greene, Lenoir, Wilson, Nash and Wayne counties will follow in March and April.

The step is being called transformational, as representatives from across the region, some of whom have already pledged their support, plan to watch at City Hall as the council signs the resolution.

“Everybody stands to benefit,” Thomas said of the movement in a telephone interview last week. “The enthusiasm about working together as a region is a very significant step and connecting transportation corridors is the key building block to making economic opportunity a reality.”

Thomas said every step involved in developing the initiative is going to take a combined effort, a requirement state Sen. Louis Pate said has been “pretty well received” by his fellow delegates, whose districts cover Pitt County.

Pate hosted the mayor, City Manager Barbara Lipscomb and city attorney Dave Holec in his Raleigh office on Feb. 20 to discuss Greenville’s 2013 legislative initiatives.

The meeting lasted more than an hour, with area senator Don Davis and N.C. representatives Susan Martin, Brian Brown and Jean Farmer-Butterfield attending to help seek new revenue sources for the city, support the state Department of Transportation’s equity formula and continue funding for regional economic development, as requested by council.

Pate said the Quad East concept was introduced by Thomas and the group had a “good exchange” about the details of the plan, which includes an estimated $75 million in federal upgrades to N.C. 11 and U.S. highways 70 and 264 and the use of Kinston’s Harvey Parkway and Interstate 795 in Goldsboro to connect East Carolina University and Vidant Medical Center with the Global Trans-Park and Seymour Johnson Air Force.

“We were pleased to see Greenville was at the forefront of the pack and excited to hear they are making some cooperative plans with other communities in the area,” Pate said.

The mayor sent a thank you letter to each of the legislators two days later, expressing appreciation on behalf of the City Council for the representative’s willingness to discuss and consider all initiatives, which he felt would “enhance the ability of the city to meet its citizens needs.”

Lipscomb said this week in council economic development subcommittee meetings she felt the conversation had lots of promise.

“Over time, hopefully we will see more regional cooperation and the development of initiatives that will move us all together toward significant economic growth,” Lipscomb said.

Pate agreed with the manager’s assessment.

“I think that (highway infrastructure) is one of the things that has held us back economically,” the senator said. “We should be providing the infrastructure that is necessary so that business can develop.”

Pitt County and Greenville leaders are not the only ones who are supporting the concept.

District engineers with the state Department of Transportation have given positive feedback. Plus, Ayden Mayor Steve Tripp, Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy and Lenoir County Commissioner J. Mac Daughety have committed as “major players,” Thomas said.

“The Quad East concept of bringing the Interstate through Pitt and Lenoir counties and connecting it to existing Interstates in Wilson and Wayne counties could be the single-most effective way of growing eastern North Carolina in the next 20 to 30 years,” Murphy said.

Murphy, who attended a follow-up meeting in Greenville last week on the measure, said the only thing on which he is waiting feedback before the Kinston City Council adopts a resolution in full support of the idea is North Carolina Senate Bill 127.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Harry Brown, R-Jacksonville, would establish seven administrative districts across North Carolina, in which regional offices of the state departments of transportation and environment and natural resources would be consolidated to create a one-stop source for citizens and businesses needing assistance.

“I am in full support as long as it does not interfere with the bill,” Murphy said of Quad East.

“The concept is fantastic,” Murphy said. “The idea of finally getting an Interstate shield from the N.C. Global Trans-Park in Kinston to East Carolina University and Vidant Health in Greenville; to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro and the Wilson County Agricultural Center would be a major benefit to the region.”

Interstate 795 is already in full swing. The Goldsboro Bypass on U.S. 70 connecting La Grange to Wayne County is under construction. Kinston’s Harvey Parkway is halfway complete. And the Southwestern Bypass, a $226 million state-funded highway between Greenville and Ayden, is on the drawing board and could be accelerated.

“It is very real to think this project could be completed in the next 10 to 15 years,” Murphy said.

Wesley Brown can be reached at 252-329-9579 orwbrown@reflector.com. Follow him on Twitter @CityWatchdog.

KFP: Kinston, Greenville, Ayden mayors collaborate

Mayors, city managers focus on transportation improvements to create ‘quad cities’

By David Anderson / Staff Writer 

Kinston, Ayden and Greenville recently took their first step toward greater regional collaboration on a long-term effort to bring an interstate-level highway network to Eastern North Carolina.

Ayden Mayor Steve Tripp invited Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy, Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas and their respective town managers to his town for a gathering last Thursday.

“I think that it is important for our three communities to be on one accord and work collaboratively to invoke progress for our region,” Tripp stated. “I appreciate both Mayor Thomas and Mayor Murphy for accepting my invitation to meet and explore ways that our communities can partner with each other on issues that we all agree are important.”

Murphy said a consensus developed among the three mayors that the priority should be improving transportation assets to spur economic development in the region.

A number of transportation projects are slated to begin in the coming years around Kinston, Ayden and Greenville, including a southwestern U.S. 264 bypass near Greenville, which would affect Ayden, just 12 and-a-half miles south of Greenville, as well as the extension of Harvey Parkway and the building of a U.S. 70 bypass of Kinston, plus the extension of the existing Goldsboro bypass into western Lenoir County.

“If you look at a map of Eastern North Carolina, and if one of our major transportation goals for the Global TransPark is getting interstate shielding in Lenoir County, the best way to make that happen is for a northern bypass to connect to the (Interstate) 795 Goldsboro-Hwy. 70 bypass and have Harvey Parkway extend all the way to the southwestern (U.S.) 264 bypass of Ayden,” Murphy said.

The Kinston mayor said “a bird’s-eye view” shows Kinston, Greenville, Goldsboro and Wilson form “quad cities,” and they could form an “interstate loop.”

“The three mayors all agree that working with our congressional delegation and our legislators in Raleigh, this concept of a quad-cities interstate loop could be a reality and an economic engine for Eastern North Carolina,” Murphy said.

Thomas, Greenville’s mayor, stated: “I believe that we should not be working in a bubble and if there are opportunities that can best be accomplished by functioning as a team and using the influence of many to accomplish our common goals, then that is what we should be doing.”

The managers of the municipalities will begin collaborating on the administrative aspects of the proposal, such as the process of obtaining an interstate highway designation.

“It’s always good when different agencies can get together and talk about what issues they’re facing, compared with what issues you’re facing and see if there’s a common ground where you can help one another,” Kinston City Manager Tony Sears said. “I believe transportation is going to be one of those situations.”

 

David Anderson can be reached at 252-559-1077 orDavid.Anderson@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at DavidFreePress.

WNCT9: City leaders discuss transportation needs in ENC

Mayors Thomas, Tripp, Murphy

By: WNCT STAFF | WNCT
Published: January 04, 2013

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Big changes could be coming for a heavily traveled highway in the east.

Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas tells us Highway 264 between Wilson and Greenville could become Interstate 264.

That was a topic of conversation Thursday when Thomas met with Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy and the Mayor of Ayden, Steve Tripp. The city leaders are brainstorming ideas to improve transportation in the east.

Friday in Goldsboro they’ll join a coalition which represents 40 eastern counties to talk about transportation needs. Mayor Thomas tells us many state leaders are also expected to be there.