Gov. Pat McCrory pushed for nearly $3 billion in bond projects “with a sense of urgency” on Monday, saying any delay would raise costs and set needed projects back years.
McCrory wants lawmakers to let voters decide in November whether to pass a bond package that would pay for roads and buildings across North Carolina.
“If we wait, the cost will go up for taxpayers,” he told a group at UNC Charlotte. “Congestion will only get worse in the region … and jobs will not expand in North Carolina at the rate they should.”
McCrory has proposed a $1.4 billion road bond package and $1.45 billion in infrastructure bonds. At UNCC, he toured an aging science building that would be replaced by a new $60 million building if the bonds pass.
Chancellor Philip Dubois said half of the school’s students who have declared majors are in fields such as science and technology that would benefit from a new building.
“We would be glad to be the poster child of the bond issue,” Dubois told McCrory. “This is the single most important project in allowing this campus to grow.”
The proposed road bonds include $384 million for the greater Charlotte region. Among the projects would be $20.1 million for an interchange at Interstate 485 and Weddington Road.
McCrory said the state would save money by issuing bonds at a time of historically low interest rates.
If passed by the legislature, the bond referendum would take place this November, when voter turnout for municipal elections is traditionally low. The state’s last big bond vote – a $3.1 billion package for higher education – took place in November 2000.
McCrory said he isn’t worried about scheduling the vote at a time of probable low voter turnout.
“It’s a smart move because it’s going to save taxpayer dollars in the long run,” he said. “That includes putting things on the ballot when it’s affordable to the citizens of North Carolina.”