An effort in North Carolina to come up with a plan to pay for roads and other infrastructure is one step closer to passage.
House lawmakers voted 76-29 to advance a $4.15 billion bond bill. The legislation includes a $2.85 billion bond referendum that allots $400 million for transportation.
An additional $1.3 billion in transportation projects would be paid for through budget allocations. Specifically, the state would stop transfers from the highway fund for the next six years and apply the revenue to roads and bridges.
The bill, HB943, awaits further consideration in the Senate. If approved by lawmakers, voters would get the final say on the bonds during the state’s presidential primary in March 2016.
House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, touted the bond bill as “a plan that invests in North Carolina’s future in a proactive and fiscally conservative manner.”
Moore also said it is important the state recognizes that interest rates on government bonds are at historic lows. He added that the state must use the opportunity to invest in roads.
Critics said they did not like the fact that the bill was approved by the full chamber only three days after it was introduced. House Democratic Leader Larry Hall of Durham said that while he is not opposed to bonds he would have preferred the process be slowed down to make sure it is done correctly.
Gov. Pat McCrory said in a news release following the vote that he welcomes the bill’s passage.
“I applaud the House for listening to the people across our state, who want to prepare North Carolina for the next generation.”
McCrory previously released his own plan that calls for borrowing about $3 billion for roads and other infrastructure. The money would be split evenly.
“The House proposal aligns with our plan to invest in North Carolina with a prudent, conservative approach that takes advantage of low interest rates and doesn’t raise taxes.”
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