Under the Dome

House Speaker Tim Moore says bond vote should wait

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore said Wednesday that Gov. Pat McCrory’s plan to hold a $3 billion bond referendum this fall is “problematic.”

McCrory wants voters to decide on two $1.5 billion plans to borrow money to fund highway projects and fix up state facilities. The governor wants to call a special election in November, when only municipal elections are on the ballot. His administration says the plan can’t wait because interest rates are expected to rise.

That would likely result in low turnout, particularly in areas of the state that won’t hold municipal elections.

Moore, however, said the referendum would be a better fit alongside the 2016 presidential primary, which is expected to take place in March.

“It should be a pretty high turnout,” the speaker told a gathering of county commissioners Wednesday morning. “This is the first time in years that North Carolina has been relevant in a presidential primary.”

McCrory needs both the House and Senate to agree on the referendum before a special election can be called.

Overall, Moore said he’s not yet sure whether the House will back the proposed bond packages. He says legislators on the right and the left might have concerns about the plan.

“It’s a matter of counting noses to see where the votes are, and I haven’t counted votes yet,” he said.

Speaking a few minutes before Moore Wednesday, McCrory said his proposal is similar to transportation and infrastructure investments made under President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s.

“I’m a student of Dwight David Eisenhower,” McCrory told county commissioners. “I want to do the same thing in North Carolina.”