Economic Impact Study Highlights Benefits of U.S. 70 Corridor Improvements

MARCH 2014

The U.S. 70 Corridor Commission commissioned an economic assessment of the U.S. 70 corridor to examine the impacts of investing in a series of bypass and upgrade projects along the corridor as well as the implications of not making the improvements. Understanding and quantifying the economic and strategic importance of the corridor to businesses, residents and communities along the corridor will allow the Commission to demonstrate the economic return on investment accruing from investments as well as the economic cost associated with not completing the system of bypasses.

The purpose of the U.S. 70 Economic Assessment is to examine the economic impacts and opportunities arising from investing in a fully controlled access facility connecting Raleigh to Port of Morehead. The analysis is comprised of two primary components – assessing the economic impact of the improved corridor for existing businesses and residents and estimating the new or induced development that may occur as a result of the improved corridor.

Key takeaways include:

  • Not making the improvements along U.S. 70 will result in slower economic growth along the corridor in the order of 350 fewer jobs per year and $800 million less in GRP and $610 million less in personal income between 2014 and 2040.
  • A fully controlled access highway would give rise to significant travel efficiencies for existing business and residents. These include $56 million in business cost savings, $1.2 billion in GRP and over $900 million in additional personal income between 2014 and 2040. This translates into nearly 550 additional jobs on average per year along the corridor when compared to business as usual. Statewide, the investment is projected to lead to an average of an additional 1,150 jobs annually.
  • An interstate quality highway could also help the region be more competitive in inducing additional business and populations. If the corridor could match the growth rates of the similar corridors in eastern North Carolina, that could translate into 600 to 1,350 additional jobs per year along U.S. 70.
  • In total, the upgrading the entire U.S. 70 corridor could give rise to an additional 1,150 to 1,900 jobs per year for communities that rely on the corridor and an additional 600 jobs annually for the rest of North Carolina for a total potential of 1,750 to 2,500 additional jobs annually for the State.

Executive Summary

Full Report