Will state lawmakers again treat the governor of their own party like a leader who it is entirely optional to follow? It appears that’s the inclination of House Speaker Tim Moore, who indicated at a meeting of county commissioners that he thinks any referendum on $3 billion in highway projects and infrastructure improvements should not be put on a ballot before the people until March, when the state’s presidential primary is expected to be held.
Gov. Pat McCrory doesn’t want to wait on getting the bond proposals up for a vote. He says the money is needed to answer road needs and catch up with delayed repairs to a host of buildings and other projects. And the timing is good, with lower interest rates under which the state would pay back money borrowed. Because of those rates, McCrory rightly thinks the bonds should go on the ballot in a special election in November, when many municipalities are holding elections. It’s true turnout would be lower, because not all municipalities are having elections. But the need for these bonds is generally recognized and likely would get a green light from a small or large electorate.
But Moore, of Cleveland County, thinks it would be good to hold the vote at the same time as the presidential primary because of a larger turnout. He notes the state’s primary might be more influential in the presidential election and turnout could be unusually strong. But there’s no need to wait for a wider vote. The borrowing costs will be lower and the work will get underway faster by voting as soon as possible.
These are real needs the governor is talking about, and he drops the name of President Eisenhower, who backed the Interstate Highway System among other infrastructure initiatives during his time in the White House.
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Moore, who heads a chamber that tends to be more McCrory-friendly than the hard-right-dominated Senate, should have given the governor his nod here, which would have been good for McCrory and good for the citizens in taking advantage of low interest rates.