Spencer, NC (WBTV) - On Wednesday, U.S. Representatives Richard Hudson (NC-08) and Ted Budd (NC-13) met with Spencer Mayor Jim Gobbel to discuss economic development and afterwards toured the North Carolina Transportation Museum.
"My Granddaddy grew up in North Carolina and worked for the railroad all his life," said Rep. Hudson. "He started out on a chain gang laying track and then retired as a road master, so this museum means a lot to me. I'm excited to visit again to admire our strong transportation history, as well as have an important conversation about economic development and ways to improve our nation's transportation network."
"Infrastructure policy is more than steel, concrete and government spending. It's how we connect people and communities together," said Rep. Budd. "Our state has real legacy of building a first-class transportation network, and this museum is a monument to that history."
The two visited the roundhouse and the back shop, stopping to admire many of the exhibits in the museum.
At one point both representatives jumped on a handcart and pushed it several feet down the track.
Spencer Mayor Jim Gobbel wasn't shy, he says the state's transportation museum, the biggest draw to the Town of Spencer, could use some money to reach its full potential and fuel growth for the area.
"Everybody needs money and we need money and money is the key to everything and that's what makes it happen," said Mayor Gobbel. "I hope they will carry back to Washington what they have seen here in Spencer in terms of this museum, which is a huge historical site in the state of North Carolina."
The museum draws 118,000 visitors a year and has a yearly economic impact of $11 million. It is expensive to operate and maintain, especially when you have exhibits this big, housed in cavernous buildings that are more than fifty years old.
"We understand how important this is to the community we all represent," Hudson said.
\What can they actually do to help? Representative Hudson pointed to tax reform.
"If everybody can fill out their income taxes on a postcard, that's going to help," Hudson said. "Tax reform is going to get this economy rolling, bring more economic development, more opportunity."