State of the State address highlights need for infrastructure investment

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North Carolina Construction News staff writer

Gov. Roy Cooper delivered his fourth State of the State address this week, highlighting the need for historic investments in education, infrastructure, the economy and the workforce.

The governor also talked about the bipartisan accomplishments of state leaders and thanked members of both parties for their work to reach a Medicaid expansion agreement.

“As we sit here tonight, North Carolina is cementing its place as a leader in the global clean energy economy — no longer the industry of the future, but the flourishing business of today,” he said. “North Carolina is a clean energy destination, bringing good paying manufacturing jobs to parts of our state that years ago knew more factory closures than ribbon cuttings.

“Consider electric vehicles, now projected to grow into a $400-billion global market in just five years. And it’s cranking up right here. From the battery manufacturing in Randolph County to the semiconductor production and the electric vehicle manufacturing in Chatham County, to the charging station production in Durham County.”

The governor also talked about the importance of tackling the challenge of robust growth with more critical infrastructure – roads, bridges, ports and rail.

“Thanks to the generational investments of the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law we’re investing more than $2 billion to do what once seemed a faraway dream. We’re going to ensure that every home in North Carolina has access to high-speed internet,” Cooper said. “Across the country, we’ve seen the consequences of neglected water systems, particularly in our rural communities.

“Without reliable clean drinking water, families struggle, new business won’t come to town, and communities can wither.

New federal funding expanded spending to $2.3 billion over two years to rebuild hundreds of water systems in nearly every county.

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