Today the North Carolina House of Representatives passed HB-943: Connect NC Bond Act of 2015 with a bipartisan vote of 93-20 to move forward with a $2 billion bond package that is designed to support critical projects across the State. The approval of the bond will ultimately be up to the North Carolina voters, and will be placed as a referendum on the March 2016 primary ballot.
“We have an unprecedented opportunity and a responsibility to fix our crumbling infrastructure and not pass these burdens onto our children by continuing to delay capital investments that will grow North Carolina,” said Rep. Dean Arp (R-Union). Arp introduced the House’s $2.8 billion bond proposal in August, and was critical in negotiating and securing the bond compromise with the Senate. “This plan provides real solutions and real results.”
“Planning ahead and investing in our future are conservative principles that will lead North Carolina to a brighter future,” Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) remarked. “I am proud of the hard work put in to identify ways to extend the life of the State’s useful assets. This is money well allocated. These projects focus on areas that will boost our State’s economic activity, and partners with industry and university to continue the bond’s momentum.”
The compromise bond proposal, which will take advantage of historically low interest rates, prioritizes projects that either extend the life of existing infrastructure or invest in new, long-lasting infrastructure.
The bond will offer more than $300 million in grant and loan programs to improve water and sewer infrastructure in local communities across the North Carolina – a growing problem that costs municipalities, homeowners, and businesses countless dollars each year.
“Science, technology, engineering, and business are booming fields that are encouraging students to relocate or stay in North Carolina – encouraging these students to make North Carolina a better place,” added Speaker Moore. “I am proud that we were able to reach a compromise with the Senate that invests in many projects that will better recruit, train, and retain an innovative workforce.”
Among other items, $980 million of the bond has been designated to upgrade science, engineering and business education facilities at fourteen public university campuses, and to support repairs at campuses statewide. $350 million is allocated to ensure every North Carolina community college will receive help with repairs and renovations that will enhance longevity of their existing infrastructure.
“Careful consideration went into selecting projects that would have a return on the investment,” added Rep. Arp. “Without raising taxes, this plan invests in high tech jobs, the agricultural industry, and the quality of life issues that matter to the people of North Carolina. With the people of North Carolina, we are writing a new story for our State, a new vision of leadership and responsibility, looking ahead and leading for decades into the future.”