A $2 billion bond issue designed to make lasting impacts on rural North Carolina will be on the March 15 primary ballot, and a broad, nonpartisan coalition is working to support its passage.
Connect NC Bond campaign organizers last week held a kickoff rally at N.C. State University. Hundreds of people created a standing-room only atmosphere inside the James B. Hunt Jr. Library to hear a number of dignitaries voice their support for the bond. Gov. Pat McCrory, former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr, N.C. Sen. Dan Blue and Jim Rose, a Rural Center board member and Yadkin Bank regional vice president, were among those who addressed the crowd. Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is expected to face McCrory in the gubernatorial election this fall, also appeared at the event.
The Rural Center is working diligently to support the bond’s passage; the center estimates that a minimum of $887 million of the bond will be spent in rural counties.
“There is no one who is not impacted by this bond,” said Rose, who also serves as a co-chair of the Connect NC bond committee.
He emphasized that the bond would fund improvements to the
university system, the community college system and National Guard facilities, while creating a funding pool to pay for much needed
water and sewer projects, particularly in rural counties.
McCrory made the case for building improvements that would be
made on a variety of college campuses, including the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Western Carolina University. He described passage of the bond issue as critical to the future of North Carolina, which has seen its population grow by more than two million people since the last bond issue was passed 15 years ago.
“We have a choice,” he said. “Do we prepare for the future, or do we want the leaders of the future to react to what we didn’t do?”
No tax increase will be required to pay for the bond. The Rural Center estimates that rural Tier 1 counties will receive $417.6 million, or 21 percent of the total. National Guard facilities in two rural counties are slated to benefit as well. In addition, the $85 million plant sciences building intended for N.C. State University will greatly impact rural parts of the state.
Over the next few weeks, the Connect NC Bond campaign will convene a series of informational sessions across the state to inform community leaders about the benefits of the bond. Rural Center staff will participate in a number of these sessions, and the center will host the meeting at 6 p.m. on January 14 in Raleigh. Click here to find a meeting near you.