Beaufort strikes out in first inning of stimulus funding

Published 5:04 am Saturday, February 21, 2009

By Staff
Staff Writer
Beaufort County has struck out in the first inning of federal stimulus funding.
The N.C. Department of Transportation has added $93 million in funding to the list of projects it will distribute to contractors in March. The bridge on N.C. Highway 32 over Runyon Creek was already scheduled to be contracted out, but no new projects from the area were added.
The only projects on the list from eastern North Carolina are in the far north and far south: Near the South Carolina border, Brunswick County will receive a 1.1-mile road improvement project valued at $7.7 million. Near the Virginia border, the state will spend $9.9 million widening U.S. Highway 158 in Camden County, which runs to the Outer Banks. In Currituck County, the state will replace a bridge for $650,000.
The eastern part of the state fared better than the mountains, which didn’t see any stimulus money.
But Beaufort County will have two more chances to snag some federal cash. A second list will be released sometime next week with more than $250 million in projects, said Ernie Seneca of the DOT. The list released next week, as with the list just released, will be drawn from projects the state was already considering, he said.
A third list, with more than $350 million in projects, will be released within the next 30 days, he said. That group will include projects from the state list and projects recommended by the state’s planning agencies, Seneca said.
Widening U.S. Highway 17 has topped Beaufort County’s wish list to the state for the last five years.