RALEIGH – Gov. Pat McCrory has signed the Connect NC Bond Act into law, which will allow the people of North Carolina to vote on a $2 billion bond package that will invest in education, parks, National Guard facilities and water and sewer infrastructure throughout the state.
Gov. McCrory signed the bill at NC State University and will travel later today for a ceremony at Lenoir Community College in Kinston. On Thursday, the governor attend bond ceremonies at Stone Mountain State Park and the University of North Carolina – Charlotte.
“We fought hard for this legislation because I truly believe the Connect NC investments in education, our parks, agriculture, along with water and sewer infrastructure will increase North Carolina’s economic competitiveness and quality of life,” said Gov. McCrory.
The University of North Carolina System will receive $980 million, primarily to build and repair facilities that prepare students opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics as well the medical sciences and business.
The North Carolina Community College System will receive $350 million for needed repairs and renovations at all 58 campuses across the state. These improvements are needed to retrofit and repair existing space to meet the demands of a 21st century workforce.
Connect NC includes $70 million to build Regional Readiness Centers in Burke, Guilford and Wilkes Counties to improve emergency response in those areas and throughout the state.
Parks and Historical Attractions
Connects NC will provide $175 million to update facilities at 45 state parks.
The North Carolina Zoo will receive $25 million for upgrades in support facilities, trails and exhibits.
Water and Sewer Infrastructure
Connect NC will make available $309.5 million to North Carolina’s small towns and urban centers for water and sewer loans and grants to meet the demands of a growing state.
Connect NC will construct an $85 million for the Plant Sciences Research Complex at NC State University to establish North Carolina as the world leader in plant sciences research and innovation.
A $94 million lab at the Agricultural and Consumer Sciences Building will be built for veterinary, food, drug and motor fuel testing.
It’s been 15 years since the last bond investments were authorized to upgrade our state’s infrastructure. In that time, North Carolina has grown by 2 million people in population and the U.S. Census Bureau projects the state will continue to experience healthy population growth for the foreseeable future.
If approved by North Carolina voters, the Connect NC bond will allow the state to pay for buildings and other assets with a service life of 50-years or more with 20-year financing. No tax increases are necessary to finance the bond, given our state’s strong revenue growth and ample debt service capacity.
North Carolina is one of only 10 states with AAA credit rating from all three major ratings agencies. This top credit rating saves North Carolina taxpayers millions of dollars and will not do anything to jeopardize our AAA credit rating. Because we are paying off our existing debt rapidly, the state’s overall debt levels will not increase with this new bond.
Similar to Governor Jim Hunt during the 2000 bond referendum, Governor McCrory has agreed to serve as honorary chairman of the Connect NC Committee, a bipartisan group of state officials and community leaders that will educate the public about the bond proposal.
Serving as honorary co-chairs are Lt. Governor Dan Forest; Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger; House Speaker Tim Moore; Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue; State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson; Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler; Bob Brown, CEO & Founder of B&C International in High Point; Jack Cecil, President of Biltmore Farms in Asheville; Fred Eshelman, Founder & President of PPD in Wilmington; Ann Goodnight, SAS Institute in Cary; Stick Williams, President of Duke Energy Foundation in Charlotte and Jim Melvin, President of Joseph Bryan Foundation in Greensboro.
Serving as co-chairs are Vanessa Harrison, President of AT&T North Carolina in Raleigh; Retired Brigadier General David Jennette with Timberlands Unlimited in Windsor; the Honorable Bob Orr; Jim Rose with Yadkin Bank in Raleigh; and Dr. Joan Perry with Kinston Pediatrics in Kinston.
Additional honorary and committee co-chairs will be announced later.