Fayetteville Chamber defends road money

FAYETTEVILLE "Completion of I-295 is the linchpin in an overall development plan designed to capitalize on the economic growth that will occur as a result of the increased military presence and the make the All American Defense Corridor a reality," said Fayetteville Mayor Tony Chavonne.

Click here to read more about I-295.

Construction of the final stage of I-295 is supposed to begin in 2009. It runs about 8 miles from Ramsey Street to the All-American Freeway. After funding for the project was announced late last year, some in other cities like Raleigh and Charlotte questioned the decision. Specifically, critics pointed out that there are other highways in the state that carry more traffic than I-295, and wondered why they weren't given first priority.

But I-295 supporters say finishing the road is a national security issue. Colonel David Fox, Garrison Commander of Fort Bragg, pointed out that Fort Bragg - which would be linked to the national interstate system by the road - is the only major base in the country that doesn't have an interstate link.

"Fort Bragg is the premier power projection platform for the Army and with the scheduled movement of both the US Army Forces Command and US Army Reserve Commands here, our need to rapidly reach our ports and those along the east coast will grow," said Colonel Fox.

Fayetteville leaders say the road is also important to support the defense industries that will come to the area as Fort Bragg grows.

"This is in important issue not only for our region, but for the entire State," said Douglas Peters, President and CEO of the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce. "Unless we are prepared adequately and provide a useful transportation system for doing business with this command, businesses will not relocate to the State."

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