{mosimage}A recent front page article and editorial in the Raleigh News and Observer bespeaks very clearly of the reason for the long-suffering struggle to obtain highway funding for Cumberland County from the state legislature. Both the article and editorial chide N.C. Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett and state Sen. Tony Rand for the latest round of funding that favored the I-295 loop around the northern and western boundaries of our county. With all due respect to the rest of the Raleighs and Charlottes of the world, it’s about time we got our fair share. If your feelings are hurt, then get in line! 
    In the late ‘60s, due to the efforts of Charlie Dawkins and Walter Clark, Cumberland fared rather well when it came to doling out highway funds across the state. Then, in the ‘70s, when the businesses on U.S. 301 and Business I-95 tried to keep I-95 from moving to its present location, the well of highway funds ran dry. The message was loud and clear from Raleigh — we (Cumberland) had messed with the mother nature of highway funding and our place in line disappeared.
    However, thanks to the likes of Terry Hutchens and Albert McCauley, when the Republicans gained control in the ‘80s, we still had some folks who knew how to play the game and we slowly got our place back at the table of the N.C. Board of Transportation. Cumberland County projects once again began to surface, or better yet, resurface!
    Now that Secretary Tippett and Sen. Rand, who have long-since paid their dues to be in their positions, have brought home the fruits of their efforts why should they be singled out for doing things by the book and within the rules? That is how the other larger metropolitan areas have done it for years. Senator Rand still had to get legislation passed that evened the playing field, and it has finally become our turn.  {mosimage}
    Why should we have to struggle to get from the west side of Fort Bragg to a four-lane highway to the coast? The folks in Charlotte have had U.S. 74 (four lanes) for years, as well as Raleigh with I-40 to U.S. 17. It goes without saying that there are legitimate needs in other metro areas of this state for extending bypasses and creating better ways of getting around (compare the new I-40 and I-85 Greensboro southern bypass). However, we’ve had similar needs in Cumberland County for 30 years and hooray for Lyndo and Tony for finally making it happen.
    The new governor appears to be headed in the direction of changing the highway funding system. It may be back to the end of the line for us; but for now, it is nice to have finally gotten to the front. 

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