Republicans in the North Carolina House have proposed new legislation that they say could make $3 billion in additional construction and infrastructure funding available over the next decade.
Monroe Rep. Dean Arp says House Bill 583 would create a new State Capital and Infrastructure Fund, receiving a set funding allocation each year. The legislation proposes the direction of one-quarter of any budget surplus to the new fund, as well as four percent of the state’s net tax revenues.
The funds would then be spent as directed by the legislature, but be restricted to infrastructure projects such as universities, government buildings, transportation and public schools.
“This is a new vision for North Carolina, and a paradigm shift in the way we provide long-term funding for our capital, infrastructure and transportation needs,” said Arp, who sponsored the bill. “This simple and common sense plan applies basic financial principles to provide 150 percent more funding than the Connect NC bond.”
Last year, voters approved Connect NC, a $2 billion bond referendum package for higher education and other government facilities. The money will be spent over six years.
There will be no need for a referendum to spend money from the fund “because it does not issue any new debt,” Arp said. In fact, the Capital and Infrastructure Fund could also be used to pay off construction debt earlier than scheduled. The plan would reduce total state debt by 62 percent over the next 10 years, he said.
“This investment will ultimately create jobs in North Carolina, and it’ll do this by improving infrastructure and educational infrastructure to foster a better learning environment,” said Rep. Stephen Ross, a Burlington Republican and bill co-sponsor.
However, Arp said the proposal doesn’t yet have Senate Republican support.