Talking points for U.S. 401 widening

Talking points for U.S. 401 widening

We are seeking federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) funds totaling about $46 million to four-lane U.S. 401 from NC 96 in Wake County to Fox Park Road in Louisburg, about 11.3 miles.

Here are some critical points to consider in writing your letter of support. Please feel free to copy and paste, rewrite or paraphrase to help make your points of support.

    1) Safety: Currently this is a dangerous, unimproved two-lane road which is being utilized far beyond its design capacity. Traffic count projections indicate use is continuing to increase since more than 60 percent of Franklin Countians travel outside the county to work daily -- and most travel South.

              A. There have been 372 traffic accidents on the Franklin County portion of the highway in the last five years -- and it’s only 11 miles;

              B. There have been eight people killed on the Franklin County portion in the last five years

              C. Statistically, this makes this makes the fatality rate on this two-lane highway about double that of similar two lane US highways in North Carolina.  The overall crash rate is 1.3 times the statewide average for roads of this type.

        2) Economic Development: U.S. 401 serves all of central Franklin County as well as a major route into Warren County. Central Franklin County and most all of Warren County is experiencing a severe economic depression including a loss of business and industry at an alarming rate.

               A. Franklin Regional Hospital wants to move -- and demands that its new site be on a four-lane highway.

               B. Several other large businesses have indicated they would like to open in Louisburg and along the US 401 corridor, but NOT until 401 is four laned.

               C. The county’s new industrial hub site, known as Triangle North Franklin, has the potential to lure 3,000 jobs here but many of the potential tenants have indicated they will not utilize the industrial park until it is served by a four-lane highway.  Our county economic development director, Ronnie Goswick, believes that the lack of four-lane access is a critical problem holding back development of the new industrial park.

                D. This highway has the potential to open up not only Central Franklin County but also serve as a vital link to Interstate 85 in Warren County and provide Raleigh vastly improved north-south access.

                E. Economic development along a four-lane 401 could add 1,400 jobs -- in addition to those in the hub site!
The economic impact of four-laning this highway is potentially huge. For example, the tax value of land along U.S. 1 in western Franklin County climbed from just over $12 million when it was two lane to more than $126 million in 2007 -- a ten-fold increase!  The same will happen with U.S. 401.

Property tax collections along U.S. 1 in Franklin County climbed from $94,856 to $1,040,253 after four laning, again a more than ten-fold increase!

Improving this highway is a great investment -- and provides an economic stimulus that will exceed just about any other project.

This is NOT a “bridge to nowhere.” This is a solid investment in the future of Franklin County, this region of North Carolina and the heart of this Congressional District.