(From Patrick Gannon with The Insider)
The leaders of the state House and Senate said Tuesday that their caucuses wouldn't support a bond package for transportation and state infrastructure projects pushed by Gov. Pat McCrory that carries a $3 billion price tag. But House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger said legislators still are considering a smaller bond package -- mainly for projects such as university facilities and state government buildings -- to present to voters either in November or some time next year.
Moore and Berger spoke to a small gathering of business owners at a National Federation of Independent Business event at the Legislative Building. "I think there's some interest in possibly floating a bond package, but it would be much less than $3 billion," Berger, a Rockingham County Republican, told reporters after speaking to the NFIB. Berger added that there is "some support for some bonds" in the Senate, but not to pay for transportation needs. Senators believe there's a way to add more dollars for transportation without the need for additional debt. Bonds for university construction projects or state government building improvements are more likely to get support in the 50-member Senate. But Berger added that senators are "not close" in deciding which projects would get funded.
Moore, a Kings Mountain Republican, said he liked the concept of a bond package and that now is a good time to consider it, with interest rates low and construction costs increasing. He suggested that the House Republican caucus had many opinions on the bond idea, with some not wanting them at all and others disputing which projects should get funding. Like the Senate, Moore said his caucus would more likely support a bond referendum for capital projects such as state and university buildings, as opposed to transportation. He also foreshadowed a big debate over which projects ultimately get funded through bonds. Moore added that the bond issue likely would be handled through separate legislation, rather than in the state budget. (Patrick Gannon, THE INSIDER, 6/03/15).