Connect NC $2 billion bond vote on March 15 wins construction industry support

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breakdown of funds
Breakdown of fund allocation by sector

North Carolina construction associations have expressed support for the $2 billion Connect NC bond vote on March 15, the day of the 2016 primary elections.

The bond, if approved, will support statewide investments in education, parks, safety recreation and water and sewer infrastructure.

The bulk of the funds will be used for post secondary education capital projects, with 49 per cent allocated for the UNC system and a further 17 per cent for community colleges.

The largest single project ($110 million) is for a sciences/STEM Building at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, with other significant university projects including a nursing school building at UNC Greensboro ($105 million), Plant Sciences building Ag/NCSU Partnership, Wake ($85 million) and a $50 million science building at Winston-Salem University. There are dozens of other projects including parks, public safety, sewer and water, and other initiatives, listed on a four page document explaining where the $2 billion will be allocated.

NCSU wake engineering
Proposed $75 million NCSU Engineering Building (Wake) to be built with Connect NC funds

“It’s been 15 years since the last general obligation bond was authorized to upgrade our state’s infrastructure and since then North Carolina has added 2 million people in population,” Gov. Pat McCrory wrote in a statement on the website supporting the bond.

“The Connect NC bond will allow us to pay for 50-year assets with 20-year financing. No tax increases are necessary to finance the bond, given our strong revenue growth and ample debt service capacity. We will continue to balance the budget and uphold our position as one of only 10 states to have earned the coveted Triple A bond rating from all three major ratings agencies.”

Bond supporters say taxes won’t need to rise, the bond is well within the state’s capacity and debt-servicing ratios, and — with currently low-interest rates — assets with a lifespan of 50 years will be paid off within two decades.

Both the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Carolinas chapter and the Carolinas Associated General Contractors (CAGC) have expressed support for the bond.’

breakdown of funds
Breakdown of fund allocation by sector

ABC Charlotte members can learn more about the NC Connect initiative at a luncheon on Jan. 28 at Maggiano’s, 440 Sharon Rd., Charlotte. Registration is $25 for members and $35 for non-members.

Earlier, CAGC lobbyists reported that they “led the efforts to secure legislation that would authorize the issuance of $2 billion of general obligation debt if a majority of voters voting in the March, 2016 primary election vote in favor of the measure. The funds would be used for 14 new construction projects within the UNC system, the constituent institutions of the NC Community College system, grants and loans for local water and wastewater systems, National Guard armory facilities, state parks, and agriculture facilities.”

More recently, CAGC issued a call to general and subcontractors to provide financial support to encourage a “yes” vote, with an open letter from Scott Cutler of Clancy and Theys, the CAGC Building Division chair and 2016 fundraising chair. He wrote:

Because of our industry’s direct stake in the positive outcome of this referendum, CAGC is a proud supporter of the Connect NC Bond Campaign pledging to raise $500,000 to be used for outreach and education to voters on the importance of the bond projects.

Each of the CAGC Bond Campaign Steering Committee members listed below has pledged to raise $25,000 for the bond campaign. But, it’s going to take much more than this to reach our goal of raising $500,000 in contributions from the construction industry and time is running out.

Here’s how you can help. If you are a general contractor that may directly benefit from these projects, please consider joining our steering committee and, like your colleagues, support our efforts with an individual pledge to raise $25,000. Others, including subcontractors and suppliers, should consider a direct donation to the Connect NC Bond Campaign (https://www.voteyestoinvest.com) or contact one of our steering committee members and pledge your support for their efforts.

“NC has not passed a statewide bond referendum since 2000,” Cutler wrote. “Although polls show strong support for the bond, that support hinges on the informed voter coming to the polls. Already, there is organized opposition to the bonds and misinformation is spreading. Aggressive outreach is needed to ensure that voters have the correct information about the projects, understand the strong financial justification for investing now and realize the positive benefits that affect ALL of North Carolina, urban and rural, from the coast to the mountains.”

CAGC Connect NC bond fundraising committee members include: Sam Hunter, T.A. Loving; Donnie Oldham, Sanford Contractors; Bob Glusenkamp, Rodgers Builders; Tim Wilson Balfour Beatty; Allen Jones, Skanska; and Marty Moser, Barnhill Contracting Company.

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