Highereducation institutions across North Carolina would benefit from a proposed 2 billion bond Connect NC

Higher-education institutions across North Carolina would benefit from a proposed $2 billion bond.

Proposed $2 billion bond issue would boost higher education in North Carolina

If voters approve in March, about two-thirds of the proceeds would go to universities and community colleges

Higher-education facilities in North Carolina would receive a huge boost if voters in the state approve a $2 billion bond proposal.

The proposal, dubbed "Connect NC," would earmark $1.33 billion—about two-thirds of the bond amount—to universities and community colleges throughout the state. Voters will cast ballots on March 15.

In the 15 years since North Carolina last approved a bond issue for state infrastructure, the state's population has grown by 2 million and facility needs have grown, Gov. Pat McCrory says on the Connect NC web site.

The plan allocates $980 million for university projects, ranging from $10 million earmarked for Fayetteville State University to $110 million for Western Carolina University. The focus of the university improvements is science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Community colleges would receive $350 million from the bond issue. That would be used for construction, renovations and repairs on 58 campuses.

In addition to education, the bonds would provide funds for water/sewer, parks and zoo improvements, public safety facilities, and agriculture research facilities.

State officials say that the $2 billion sought for infrastructure upgrades represents a small percentage of North Carolina's infrastructure needs.

"Even the Connect NC, the majority of our state’s infrastructure needs will remain unmet and our community colleges and universities will still have projects that need to be built on their campuses," the Connect NC web site says.

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