Beaufort County again denied stimulus funding

Published 5:47 am Wednesday, February 25, 2009

By Staff
Nearest project is U.S. Highway 64 in Martin County
Staff Writer
Beaufort County again came up empty as the N.C. Department of Transportation announced the second round of funding from the federal stimulus package Tuesday.
Martin was the nearest county to get funding. There, the state will spend $12.7 million to repave U.S. Highway 64. Resurfacing U.S. Highway 17 Business will cost another $140,000.
Hyde, Martin and Washington counties are part of DOT Division One, which has spent about $30.8 million of the $61.8 million it is projected to receive from the stimulus package.
Beaufort County is part of Division Two, along with Lenoir County, which received all of the division’s funding and then some for a $64.3-million, 8.4-mile expansion of Crescent Road.
Tuesday’s announcement meant the state had spent more than half the $735.5 million it has for bridges and roads as part of the stimulus project.
County leaders expressed disappointment that a widening of U.S. 17 wasn’t included in the spending.
Tom Thompson, the county’s lead economic developer, called an expansion of U.S. 17 “the most important missing ingredient for economic development.”
Thomson said the Highway 17 Association is working to commission a study on the economic benefits of such an expansion, even if much of the stimulus money has already been handed out.