Gov. Pat McCrory said Wednesday that he wants to see funding restored for the Durham-Chapel Hill light rail line as legislators negotiate a final budget.
McCrory was asked about his priorities for the legislature’s current short session during a question-and-answer session with the N.C. League of Municipalities. Budget negotiations will begin soon after the House voted 112-0 Wednesday to reject the Senate’s budget bill. Legislative leaders hope to pass a budget and end the session by early July.
While both the House and Senate lift a $500,000 cap on funding for light rail projects, the Senate wants to impose another cap that would limit state funding to 10 percent of the total cost for light rail, commuter rail or intercity rail projects.
“I hope that’s reinstated,” McCrory said of the funding. “It should have never been taken out.”
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McCrory also voiced support for state employee pay raises. While the House has proposed a 2 percent across-the-board raise, the governor and the Senate prefer to target salary increases for hard-to-fill positions.
“We’re having a tough time with attrition,” McCrory said. “I want to be given more flexibilty on how to distribute pay raises.”
The governor also said he’s concerned the budget could limit funding for the Department of Commerce. “We’re just trying to get them to pay the operating budget for Commerce now,” McCrory said. “We’ve got a very low threshold there.”
And he said he’s lobbying the legislature to support his Project Phoenix plan to revitalize decrepit state government buildings. He reiterated his call to tear down the Archdale Building, which he says was a failed attempt to replicate the Washington Monument.