Connect NC Bond
Investing In Our Future
Q: What is the Connect N.C. referendum that voters will consider on March 15?
A: Connect NC is a $2 billion bond proposal for strategic investments in North Carolina’s public infrastructure—higher education, state parks, agriculture, safety, and water and sewer infrastructure.
Q: Why should I care?
A: This proposed referendum—supported by the governor and approved for the ballot by the General Assembly—is aimed at cultivating a stronger economy, improve quality of life, provide improved facilities for education and training, and enhance the safety of our citizens. Projects span 76 counties in North Carolina, including Alamance County.
Q: Why did the Governor propose this now?
A: After years of deferred maintenance during the recession, North Carolina has suffered an erosion of its infrastructure. Just as businesses invest in their companies and families invest in their homes, the governor believes North Carolina has the responsibility to invest in its public infrastructure for current and future generations. Interest rates are low now. Most forecasters predict the Federal Reserve will begin raising rates soon.
Q: How much more money in taxes will this cost me?
A: No new taxes are required now or in the future to finance the bonds as North Carolina has ample debt service capacity within its existing revenue profile to support the investments.
Q: How does the state propose to spend this $2 billion?
- Higher education would receive the largest share. The UNC system would receive $980 million, particularly to build and repair Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) facilities. STEM programs prepare students for careers in highly-skilled, high-demand fields.
- The North Carolina Community College System will receive $350 million for needed repairs and renovations at all 58 campuses across the state. These improvements are needed to retrofit and repair existing space to meet the demands of a 21st century workforce. $350 million means that the state’s community college system—nationally renowned and internationally copied—keeps the edge it needs to provide citizens the all-important first steps to college and career goals.
- North Carolina state parks and attractions would benefit. For example, $75 million would go to update facilities at 45 treasured state parks. Another $25 million would upgrade facilities, trails and exhibits at the North Carolina Zoo.
- $70 million would go to construct National Guard Regional Readiness Centers, allowing the Guard to more effectively respond in times of emergency.
- $309.5 million would go for statewide water and sewer loans and grants to meet the demands of a growing state. Since the last water and sewer bond passed in North Carolina 17 years ago, the state’s population has grown by more than 2 million people.
- $85 million would go for the Plant Sciences Research Complex at NC State University to establish North Carolina as the world leader in plant sciences research and innovation. Another $94 million would go to a lab at the Agricultural and Consumer Sciences Building for veterinary, food, drug and motor fuel testing.
Q: Why are community colleges such a focus in this bond referendum and how would Alamance Community College use its portion?
- North Carolina’s 58 colleges have trained and educated 40 percent of the state’s workforce over the last 10 years. Its alumni account for 46 percent, or $19.6 billion, of the $42.2 billion economic impact of higher education alumni in the state. This network of career and college educational institutions has been the go-to source for N.C. industry-supported and industry-specific training.
- Alamance Community College has a $200 million economic impact each year on Alamance County.
- ACC is projected to receive $6.13 million and can direct that allocation toward critically-needed projects, including:
- Expand the campus Health Sciences Building. This will allow Alamance Community College to respond to increased demand for Nurses, Nursing Assistants, Medical Assistants and Medical Lab Technologists. This increased demand is tied to North Carolina’s aging population.
- Renovate and update “Main” Building space to provide classrooms/labs with 21st Century instructional technology for curriculum programs commensurate with the needs of industry: Agri-science, Animal Science, Horticulture Technology.
- Add space to centralize all student support services to streamline and accelerate admissions, processing, academic advising, career counseling, and veterans’ services. This will improve quality and efficiency to increase graduation rates, retention, and speed transition of students into the workforce.
- Renovate “B” Building to ensure state-of-the-art classrooms/lab space to better meet workforce training needs.
- Replace a 40-year-old heating/ventilation/air-conditioning system that is in a fix-and-repair-daily state and could shut down any day, severely impacting the learning environment.
Q: What does the bond referendum look like on the March 15 ballot?
A: Here is how this bond proposal is put to North Carolina voters:
[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST
The issuance of two billion dollars ($2,000,000,000) State of North Carolina Public Improvement Bonds constituting general obligation bonds of the State secured by a pledge of the faith and credit and taxing power of the State for the purpose of providing funds, with any other available funds, to fund capital improvements and new facilities for the State, including, without limitation, the construction and furnishing of new facilities and the renovation and rehabilitation of existing facilities for, without limitation, the University of North Carolina System, the North Carolina Community College System, water and sewer systems, the State’s National Guard, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, attractions and parks, and the Department of Public Safety.”
Q: Who is assisting Gov. Pat McCory with the bond proposal?
A: The following are serving:
Honorary co-chairs: Lt. Gov. Dan Forest; Senate leader Phil Berger; House Speaker Tim Moore; Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue; state Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson; Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler; Bob Brown of High Point, CEO of B&C International; Jack Cecil of Asheville, president of Biltmore Farms; Fred Eschelman of Wilmington, founder of PPD; Ann Goodnight, SAS director of outreach; Stick Williams of Charlotte, Duke Energy Foundation president; and Jim Melvin of Greensboro, president of the Joseph Bryan Foundation.
Co-chairs: Vanessa Harrison, president of AT&T North Carolina in Raleigh; retired Brig. Gen. David Jennette with Timberlands Unlimited in Windsor; former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr; Jim Rose with Yadkin Bank in Raleigh; and Dr. Joan Perry with Kinston Pediatrics in Kinston.