To compete in a global economy, transportation infrastructure continues to be crucial for economic development and regional attraction. Economic competitiveness is important to keep the momentum of current regional job growth.
The CONNECT Beyond region is experiencing exponential population and employment growth. A study by Syneva Economic found that in 2016 the employment total for the region was 1,135,000. This same study found that in 2017 the region had total employment of 1,169,700 which is a 3.1 percent annual increase. The average increase in annual employment rates for all U.S. metropolitan areas is 1.3 percent.
While the region has enjoyed economic competitiveness and been an attractive area for employers, we need to keep innovating as a region to continue to diversify our economic base, to grow job opportunities and to retain and recruit businesses and industries. Currently, one of our region's main weaknesses makes it less competitive economically and attractive to potential businesses is our lagging transportation infrastructure. As explained in the recent “Prosperity for Greater Charlotte”, the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy that As explained in the recent “Prosperity for Greater Charlotte” was published by the Centralina Economic Development District, “transportation infrastructure is lagging behind population growth, resulting in significant roadway traffic congestion and inhibiting workers’ ability to commute.”
Good transportation infrastructure and efficient public transportation are important for the region’s economic development, talent attraction and business recruitment. Public transit systems are becoming the common criteria for larger companies when they are choosing headquarters and expansion locations, as well as when companies are making the crucial decision about whether to stay in a location and continue to grow their business. If we want to recruit and retain the best businesses and job opportunities in the region then we must improve our transportation infrastructure, focusing especially on expanding and enhancing our public transit services to increase transportation choices for residents living and working in the region.
The “Prosperity for Greater Charlotte" report explained that "the region will become more competitive when businesses, entrepreneurs and residents can make use of well-coordinated and robust regional infrastructures for transportation."