Gov. McCrory makes pitch for bond plan that backs WSSU project

Gov. McCrory makes pitch for bond plan that backs WSSU project
June 18
00:00 2015

In photo above: Gov. Pat McCrory, left, and Winston-Salem State University Chancellor Elwood Robinson speak with the media after the governor made a presentation on his Connect NC bond proposal at WSSU on June 11. (Photo by Donna Rogers)

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) stands to receive $53.9 million for a new, larger sciences building if Gov. Pat McCrory’s bond referendum proposal gets on the ballot later this year and is approved by voters.

McCrory visited WSSU on Thursday, June 11, to urge administrators, educators, students and the public to contact lawmakers in the General Assembly to make sure they vote to put his $2.85 billion Connect NC bond proposal on the ballot this year. He said any measure putting the general obligation bond proposal on the ballot must be approved by June 30.

“They’re just not hearing from you,” the governor said when asked what the holdup is on getting the bond proposal on the ballot.

Also as part of the Connect NC bond proposal, McCrory has proposed money for road projects in the Winston-Salem area, including the proposed loop that will go around the city and hook up with Interstate 74.

McCrory brought Budget Director Lee Roberts and Transportation Director Tony Tatum with him to give specifics of the bond referendum proposal.
Connect NC consists of plans for two bonds of about $1.5 billion each. One would target roads and the other would target infrastructure, such as the WSSU building.

Voters would cast ballots for or against the bond proposal probably in November if the General Assembly passes a measure approving the ballot vote.

Over $200 million is included in the infrastructure bond proposal for major improvement plans at facilities of all five of the state’s public historically black universities. Besides WSSU, the other historically black universities would receive the following:

*North Carolina A&T University would receive $99.2 million for a new College of Engineering building.

*Fayetteville State University would receive $10.6 million for renovations to the Lyons Science building.

*North Carolina Central University would receive $34 million for a new School of Business building.

*Elizabeth City State University would receive $4 million for campus-wide repairs and renovations.

WSSU Chancellor Elwood Robinson said when speaking to the media after the governor’s presentation that the new sciences building is needed to train students in the 21st century.

WSSU printed material says the building will be “a hub of innovation, discovery and application that will attract and support faculty and students with diverse academic interests,” such as biology, chemistry, physics and the health sciences. The material says the Biomedical Research Infrastructure Center will be in the new building so that all the sciences laboratories will be near each other. This will encourage more collaboration between faculty and students.

McCrory said the investments in the sciences, with the new buildings at the historically black universities, will help those universities train students for the challenges ahead in the 21st century and to make North Carolina more competitive in the marketplace.

“Right now, more than ever, the competition for talent, the competition for jobs is greater than it’s ever been,” McCrory said on June 11. He mentioned competition with Tennessee, South Carolina and Virginia.

Volvo bypassed North Carolina when it was deciding where to put a new plant operation in the United States. According to news reports, Volvo considered three North Carolina sites and sought incentives from the state for its new plant, which it eventually decided to build in Charleston, South Carolina. The plant will bring 4,000 jobs to that area.

The state’s roads need attention as well as infrastructure, McCrory said.

The governor’s office said the proposed bond for roads would pay for 27 permit-ready highway projects throughout North Carolina that have completed environmental documents. In addition, the bond would fund the paving of 176 unpaved secondary roads totaling 113 miles.

In the Winston-Salem area, money is proposed for the $1.417 million Winston-Salem Northern Beltway, which will connect with Interstate 74. Money also is proposed for a new medical examiner’s office in Forsyth County and improvements to Interstate 40.

McCrory said he is looking at the future, which is what he says North Carolina should be doing. Lawmakers should be looking at “what we can do today to help generation after generation for years and decades to come.”

The governor’s office said that because of the state’s fiscal strength and strong balance sheet, no tax increase is needed to fund the bonds and the state’s AAA bond rating would be preserved.

“Now is the time for action,” McCrory said.

For more information on Connect NC, go to

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Donna Rogers

Donna Rogers

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