- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Gov. Pat McCrory pleaded with special interests Tuesday for more vocal support of a plan to borrow $3 billion to fund public works, an idea that has been met coolly by Republican leaders in the General Assembly.

The governor addressed a luncheon of engineers in a Raleigh high-rise, asking them to call their legislators in favor of a proposed November ballot initiative authorizing bond packages of $1.5 billion apiece for roads and infrastructure projects. The “Connect NC” proposal includes $2.85 billion in projects to upgrade highways, university buildings, parks and other government facilities.

The Senate budget released Monday did not include either of the bonds packages; instead it proposed increasing Division of Motor Vehicles fees and transferring money from the Highway Patrol to pay for $300 million in road building. Leaders in both houses have expressed concerns that the bond packages borrow too much.

In addition to adding debt, putting the initiatives on the November ballot would force precincts where municipal elections are not being held to spend money to open voting places.

But McCrory said historically low interest rates this year mean the state could lose money if it waits until March, when the statewide presidential primary will be held.

State Budget Director Lee Roberts joined the governor at the luncheon and promised the state would not raise taxes “or use gimmicks to pay for the bonds.”

The governor said he wants to get the two bond measures on the ballot by the end of the month, but argued that he is out of resources to lobby Republican leaders, and is relying on public pressure to ease concerns.

“It’s a tough sell,” McCrory told a reporter following the speech to the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina.

The bond initiative includes 27 highway projects and 176 paving projects in 57 counties, as well as 101 infrastructure projects across 64 counties. About a third of infrastructure funding is dedicated to the University of North Carolina System for science, math and technology projects. Other projects include $200 million for the state community college system and $87 million for the National Guard and military.

Several county and municipal governments across the state slated to receive a slice of the funding have passed resolutions calling for the ballot initiatives, which also have the support of several chambers of commerce.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide