Currituck Chamber of Commerce holds coastal economic summit

Published 7:53 am Friday, December 23, 2022

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The Currituck Chamber of Commerce hosted a panel discussion recently on local transportation infrastructure and offshore wind.

The chamber’s keynote speaker, North Carolina Secretary of Transportation J. Eric Boyette, discussed updates to Mid-Currituck Bridge, potential ride-sharing programs to assist businesses with employee transportation needs and 2024-2033 STIP development that identifies the construction funding and schedule for projects over a 10-year period. John Harris of Kitty Hawk Kites expressed concern about transportation and housing affecting local workforce development. According to Boyette, there is a pilot ride-sharing program in Wilson that could possibly be investigated for our area.

Sonya Ravindranath Wadell, vice president and economist, regional and community analysis at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, delivered the opening keynote address. Supply chain interruptions, workforce shortages and rising interest rates all led to a decline in demand followed by a resurgence as the growth rate in North Carolina continues to outpace that of Virginia.

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Jennifer Mundt, assistant secretary of clean energy economic development, NC Department of Commerce; Chris Gullickson, director of development and transportation policy, The Port of Virginia; Ashley K. McLeod, lead OSW public affairs, Avangrid Renewables; and Matt Smith, director of energy and water technology, Hampton Roads Alliance moderated an offshore wind panel discussion. They discussed the Kitty Hawk offshore wind project timeline, project development and supply chain opportunities such as transportation, port and marine services, support vessels, maintenance and repair, with a potential economic investment of $100 billion in North Carolina and clean renewable energy for hundreds of thousands of North Carolina homes.

“This annual Coastal Economic Summit is hosted by the Chamber to provide attendees with insights into the future of the northern Outer Banks economy while also informing and providing outreach opportunities on current issues affecting the North Carolina coast’s Outer Banks tourism industries and communities, such as housing, workforce issues, and service areas,” stated a Currituck Chamber press release.