Lawmakers Struggle with
Myths vs. Facts
We realize that controversy always surrounds the construction of new highways. It was true with every road in the state. If these roads were not built, we would not be driving on Interstate 85 or Highway 321 today. From the beginning of time and in every culture, transportation is the lifeblood of economic development.
The information being distributed by the opponents of the Garden Parkway is grossly incorrect. We want to set the record straight and give you evidence of why you should support the Garden Parkway and the future of our community.
Myth: The Garden Parkway will not bring jobs to Gaston and sends jobs to South Carolina.
Fact: The Garden Parkway is expected to generate about 18,000 jobs in Gaston County within the next 25 years. Additionally during the 4 year construction period another 2600+ jobs will be created. The Garden Parkway will bring jobs to South Carolina, but they will be far exceeded by those generated in Gaston County and the Charlotte region. The Garden Parkway is not an economic producer for SC, but not building it will allow SC an opportunity to offer a transportation corridor to the Charlotte Airport's new intermodal rail facility, which will then give SC the advantage.
Myth: The Garden Parkway will not bring jobs to Gaston County!
Fact: Highway 321 is the perfect case and point. The completion of US 321 from Gastonia through Lincolnton to Hickory made the development of the Lincoln County Industrial Park possible. The 16 industries in the park employ over 2,700 people and an investment of over $350 million. Apple has built a $1 billion data center just over the line in Catawba County. Target has built a 1.2 million square foot distribution center as a result of the connectivity offered by US 321.
Myth: Money allocated to build the Garden Parkway should be used for other roads or education and other priorities.
Fact: The GAP funds originate from the NC Highway Trust Fund and have been directed by the General Assembly specifically for the Garden Parkway. Under state law, the money from funding sources for the Garden Parkway can only be used for one of 10 highway projects. If Gaston County doesn't get the money for the Garden Parkway, it will go to create jobs in Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem and our citizens will still pay the tax for funds to be used elsewhere in the State.
Myth: The Garden Parkway will increase I-85 congestion
Fact: The construction of the Garden Parkway will considerably decrease the geographic isolation of Gaston County and allow the county to participate in the overall economic growth of the Charlotte MSA. The Garden Parkway will improve travel times within Gaston County and provide a much needed connection to the new Intermodal Facility at the Charlotte International Airport.
Myth: Tolls are not enough to pay the project price and taxpayers have to pay the $1.4 billion cost.
Fact: The Garden Parkway will be funded using a combination of sources with about half of the money repaying the bonds coming from the user tolls. Once the debt is repaid over a 30-40 year period the tolls would be removed. The project price is currently estimated at $940 million
Myth: The Garden Parkway won't improve travel times.
Fact: Trips across Gaston County are expected to be nearly 10 minutes shorter while trips into Charlotte are shaved by more than 20-30 minutes. Beyond travel time, many miles per trip are also saved. With $4 per gallon gasoline the use toll could be significantly less than the cost of fuel to get to the same destination.
Myth: It isn't worth it!
Fact: The construction of the Garden Parkway has the potential to change the future economic fortunes of Gaston County! There is expected to be employment growth of nearly 18,000 jobs over the next 25 years. Additionally the new houses resulting from the building of the Parkway are expected to be a higher than average value. This will have a moderating effect on property taxes.