NC Council of State approves $700 million bonds for NCDOT road construction and repairs

October 9th, 2020

North Carolina state officials have approved issuing $700 million in bonds to support road construction and repairs. These transportation funds will go towards road construction and repair needs in North Carolina communities that have endured uncertainty about the future of critical projects for their schools, businesses, and neighborhoods.

A 10-member Council of State unanimously passed a resolution on October 6th that initiates the Build NC bonds sale, which is part of a $3 billion transportation package approved by the General Assembly in 2018.

NCDOT entered a legal agreement with the state treasurer’s office, the budget office, and the management office. The controller’s office will ensure accountability and oversight during the Build NC program, programmed to cover transportation projects for over ten years. State officials approved issuing the bonds, despite a history of overspending by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Since 2019, reports state NCDOT has overspent $2 billion on construction and maintenance and maxed out its Highway Trust Fund by $1 billion. Recently a state audit found the state agency overpaid employees by $40 million.

Borrowing money using bonds allows the state to spread the costs across multiple years as opposed to breaking into current revenue or cash flow to cover the project expenses.

The treasurer’s office expects the $700 million in bonds to be ready for sale by the end of the month. 

Three North Carolina counties will also decide whether to approve more than $570 million in bonds in the November election.

  • Mecklenburg County voters will vote on ballot measures to increase taxes so the county can issue $102.73 million for transportation projects, $50 million in bonds for low-income housing, and $44.5 million in bonds for neighborhood improvement projects. 
  • Wake County citizens will decide whether to approve an $800 million bond for Raleigh’s housing projects.
  • Guildford County residents will decide on a $300 million bond for school expansions and repairs and build new schools.