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Published Sat, Oct 27, 2012 08:00 PM
Modified Fri, Oct 26, 2012 07:46 PM

Candidates for House of Representatives talk transportation

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- ajames@newsobserver.com

CLAYTON -- Incumbent Republican Leo Daughtry and Democratic challenger Jenifer Bubenik would travel different roads when it comes to deciding transportation priorities in the General Assembly.

The two will face off for the seat in the 26th District in the state House of Representatives.

Bubenik says her views on transportation stem partly from her personal experience. One of her main transportation priorities if elected is toimprove some of the older two-lane winding roads that have been the scenes of numerous teenage driving wrecks, including her brother’s 16 years ago.

“It’s alarming we still haven’t done updates to our back country roads in the way that we should,” Bubenik said. She said her brother’s wreck was on Shotwell Road near Covered Bridge Road, a dangerous stretch of road that is largely unchanged in the 16 years since her brother crashed there. The fact that Johnston County has long held the ranking for the highest number of teenage traffic fatalities is impetus for improvement, Bubenik said. She acknowledged the new driver’s education program started by the Johnston County schools and the sheriff’s office that is aimed to minimize teen traffic fatalities and said that’s one step in the right direction.

Another area of transportation Bubenik said she’d like to focus on is innovation. Having spent several years living abroad in the Peace Corps in Honduras and traveling to countries with vibrant public transportation, she said she’s seen how efficient transit rails and buses are at connecting people in rural areas and suburbs to bigger cities. She said Clayton is an ideal place for public transportation since there are so many commuters. Funding for such a project could come from the federal government if the town worked with Amtrak, and that way it would not be a huge new expense for the town to be responsible for, Bubenik said.

Republican Representative Leo Daughtry also cited road maintenance as an important transportation issue, but says he is more focused on improving and maintaining the highways.

“We need to continue maintaining our highways to ensure bridges are fine so we don’t build roads and not keep them up,” Daughtry said. He also said that adding a lane to Interstate 40 from the Ten Ten Road cut off to Jones Sausage Road is important to reduce traffic congestion and provide better traffic flow for commuters.

Daughtry introduced a bill in May to study tolls on Interstate 95 because he wants the General Assembly to have a chance to vote on it.

“I don’t think we should put a toll on I-95 because it would greatly hamper I-95 locally, and getting back and forth to work,” said Daughtry. “It’s not in our best interest to have I-95 become a toll road.”

So far in Johnston County, more than 16,000 people have voted, including absentee voting and early voting. Early voting ends November 3. Election day is November 6.

James: 919-553-7234

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