Opinion
Governor backs new bond to support state infrastructure
Old Gold & Black
By
Guest Columnist
Thursday, March 31, 2016

It’s been well over a decade since North Carolina’s electorate has voted in favor of a general-obligation bond purposed with providing the necessary funding to update the state’s infrastructure.

Connect NC is a two billion dollar bond supported by the incumbent Republican Governor Pat McCrory and during its referendum process was approved by voters with a 2:1 margin.

The financial package will provide the state with the required funding to connect North Carolina to the 21st century through state-wide investment in education, parks, public safety, recreation and water and sewer infrastructure.

Connect NC will give the state the ability to pay for 50-year assets through a condensed, streamlined 20-year financing program that won’t require any tax increases due to North Carolina’s strong revenue growth and ample debt service capacity.

As one of only 10 states that have earned the coveted “Triple A” bond rating by three of the foremost rating agencies, the state will be able to borrow money cheaply. This will give it the power to uphold its rating in light of such a massive public works project.

By paying for these much needed projects during a time when interest rates are historically low, the governor’s fiscally conservative policies have put the state in the financially favorable position that allows North Carolina to take advantage of its prime debt service capacity without jeopardizing its strong credit ratings.

By setting in motion a much needed infrastructure-enhancing project, McCrory intends to revamp the densely populated and quickly growing state. With such a fiscally conservative approach, the governor says, “We’re essentially getting a low-cost mortgage that fits our financial formula.”

The bond’s finances are expected to fund works in more than 76 of North Carolina’s counties — including Wake Forest’s Piedmont-Triad region — with local projects planned that will greatly improve renowned Pilot Mountain State Park and revamp some of the local, state-owned universities.

By backing Connect NC, McCrory is fighting hard for education by devoting a considerable sum of money to colleges and universities to provide the state’s students with revolutionary new facilities and increased academic funding.

The University of North Carolina’s President Margaret Spellings championed McCrory’s backing, calling the bond’s approval “a great day for the UNC system and for all of North Carolina,” noting her gratefulness for voters’ “demonstration of support and confidence in our public university and community colleges.” Spellings cited the funding as a confirmation of North Carolina’s “longstanding commitment to public higher education,” a tool that will “help meet the needs of the state and to open the doors of economic opportunity for their children and grandchildren.”

McCrory is working hard to create jobs. Large tranches of Connect NC funding will go toward STEM education projects like the UNCG Nursing School’s building and North Carolina A&T’s College of Engineering facility.

By investing in the educational infrastructures where students learn, the governor is ensuring the creation of state-of-the-art facilities and funding for educational initiatives that provide a forward-thinking academic atmosphere. This effort positively influences the qualifications and career outlook of the state’s working-age population.

McCrory has utmost confidence in the bond and the positive ways in which it will touch the lives of countless North Carolinians through an infrastructural overhaul of essential public systems, lands and facilities. “One reason I don’t have a ‘B’ plan is because I’m pretty confident we have a good plan in place for the voters to pass,” he said prior to the bond’s approval.

The governor is running state government like a business. By providing the capital to jump-start the project, McCrory is investing in our state at the most fiscally prudent time.