State leaders voted Tuesday to borrow the first $200 million of a $2 billion bond referendum package for higher education and other government facilities.
The Council of State, a committee of statewide elected officials chaired by Gov. Pat McCrory, voted unanimously to issue the first bonds.
“This is a historic day,” McCrory said before the vote. “That’s a good first start, and I think it’s fiscally responsible.”
The $200 million in borrowing approved Tuesday funds the first year of work on projects included in the “Connect N.C.” bond package, which voters approved in the March 15 primary.
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According to state budget director Andrew Heath, about half of the initial funding will support planning and design on projects that will break ground in later years. The other half will fund “shovel ready” projects.
About 87 percent of the funding in the first round of bonds goes to university construction projects, including $8.4 million for a new engineering building at N.C. State University, $5.8 million for the new N.C. School of Technology and Engineering, and $1.6 million for a new medical education building at UNC-Chapel Hill.
McCrory said that some of the university facilities being replaced with bond money are “in terrible shape.”
The first round also includes funding for campground improvements, land acquisitions and other projects at dozens of state parks. In the Triangle, that includes campground upgrades at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area and Raven Rock State Park.
The remainder of the $2 billion in bonds will be issued over the following six years.