Governor Pat McCrory recently unveiled his new transportation plan. As it stands, southeastern North Carolina is not slated to receive funding for rail improvements.
With the wood pellet industry and Vertex Rail coming to Wilmington, train traffic will increase substantially over the next few years. Yet the state is currently not providing funding to help ease the strain of such a rise in activity or address safety conflicts with vehicular traffic.
Brunswick County is likely to see the largest population surge in southeastern North Carolina over the next several decades.
In preparation for this growth, policy makers from the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the regional transportation planning agency with representatives from New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender Counties, are developing a modernized transportation plan to address congestion and what they're calling "enticing" options for the next generation of commuters.
As the populations of Brunswick, Pender, and New Hanover Counties continue to swell, accommodating the movement of people and goods requires much more creativity and innovation than just widening roads or building more of them.
Beginning this fall, Amtrak passengers will be bussed between Wilmington and the Wilson train station outside of Raleigh. However, as WHQR’s Andrew Jarachovic reports, city Councilwoman Laura Padgett is pushing for the train carrier to provide more than just a curbside stop.