Governor Beverly Perdue and Senator Kay Hagan are among the leaders speaking at the meeting.
A capacity crowd heard Senator Christopher Dodd's keynote remarks. This year's theme was "Building the Good Growth State."
Senator Dodd highlighted what organizers believe is a need for serious infrastructure investment.
"You can pick up the newspaper any day and read about further deterioration of wastewater treatment facilities. Water facilities, bridges, roads, all of these things that are collapsing. Maybe not on the magnitude we saw over I-35 or the levees of New Orleans, but as we speak it is falling apart."
Raleigh also has infrastructure issues that leaders say need attention now.
"That is the foundation for a healthy nation and a prosperous North Carolina," Senator Hagan said. "And it is no coincidence that infrastructure investment has moved to the forefront of the national conversation."
Those attending the meeting will work on possible solutions to the state's infrastructure challenges. They are monitoring the stimulus bill that is currently moving through congress.
"I think we're going to put aside some differences now and act, as a country," Senator Dodd said. "And that might not happen under 'normal' times. So there is a moment that we've been given, as a result of this crisis that we need to grab, take advantage of, if we're going to move forward."
The forum is a two-day event.