North Carolina Legislature approves $3 billion in bonds for roads
June 15, 2018
The state of North Carolina is one step away from moving forward with plans to borrow $3 billion to get transportation work done.
House lawmakers voted 94-21 on Tuesday, June 12, to advance to the governor the proposed North Carolina Bond Act. The Senate already approved the bill, SB758, by unanimous consent.
Starting in fiscal year 2019, the legislation would permit the state to tap $300 million in bonds annually over the next decade. In addition, the state would be forbidden from using the money for toll work or nonhighway projects.
Money from the state Highway Trust Fund would be used to pay back the debt. The fund receives fuel and vehicle sales taxes and Division of Motor Vehicle fees.
Gov. Roy Cooper supports the Republican-led plan. The Democratic governor included the bond issue in his budget proposal. He is expected to sign SB758 into law.
Critics say including the bond in the budget would take away North Carolinians opportunity to have their say on the issue at the ballot. They want voters to make the final decision on any new state debt.
Advocates say another form of transportation revenue is necessary because they believe that fuel tax money is plateauing as more people use more efficient vehicles.
“Build NC is a critical tool North Carolina needs to ensure we can continue strong project delivery,” said Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon.
The legislation specifies the bond money would be divided between the state Department of Transportation’s “division needs projects” and “regional impact projects.”
The division needs designation involves the state’s 14 transportation divisions. The divisions are local groupings of counties.
Regional impact projects compete for funds in regions made up of two NCDOT transportation divisions.
The maximum amount of bonds for any one project could not exceed $300 million.
To view other legislative activities of interest for North Carolina, click here.