Last year the NC Recovery Coalition (AIA, AGC, PENC, ACEC) made its primary legislative agenda state building repair and renovation and infrastructure investment. The campaign was entitled "The Cost of Doing Nothing." A detailed analysis shows that through the state's maintenance neglect, North Carolina is actually wasting over $600 million a year by forestalling needed repairs and renovation.
On Wednesday, February 4, Governor McCrory addressed the General Assembly and outlined his agenda for the state in 2015. Included as a top priority is a substantial package for infrastructure spending in the next 5 years. The following is a piece by Patrick Gannon from The Insider detailing the Governor's proposals.
Gov. Pat McCrory will request that the General Assembly approve a $1.2 billion bond to pay for more transportation projects and as much as $1.4 billion to repair and replace state buildings. McCrory told lawmakers during his "State of the State" speech Wednesday night that the time is right to borrow money to take advantage of "historically low" interest rates and the current financial capacity of the state. The governor said state buildings have fallen into disrepair, with bad HVAC units, broken elevators and asbestos issues, among other problems. "We can no longer afford this culture of neglect and apathy," McCrory said. "We're going to fix things in this state. We're going to fix our infrastructure." The money for state buildings, dubbed "Project Phoenix," would be used to revitalize structures that can be saved and tear down those that can't. It will save taxpayer dollars in the long run, boost productivity and morale of state workers and improve safety, the governor said.
In transportation, the $1.2 billion bond proposal would allow for quicker construction of projects in the state's 25-year transportation plan. McCrory said projects funded with bond revenues would be those with environmental documents in place that score highest on the state's mobility formula, which ranks projects based on need and other factors. McCrory also vowed to support efforts to protect and stabilize existing transportation revenue streams, while also looking at funding reform and alternatives for future transportation needs.
Rep. Larry Hall, D-Durham, the House Democratic leader, said Democrats want to work with McCrory to improve transportation infrastructure, but he also said they want to look closely at how the dollars are spent and where. "It's nice to put a price tag out there but the current methodology for … deciding projects may have to be looked at, and that's very serious," he said. Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, said the Republican-led General Assembly is putting more money into repairs and renovations and trying to find a "consistent source of money" to maintain existing and future state buildings. As for McCrory's specific bond proposals, Rucho said: "I'm still up in the air to try to decide if we can afford to do that right now." (Patrick Gannon, THE INSIDER, 2/05/15).