Chancellor Dubois speaking at the Charlotte Regional Partnership
Countdown to Election Day
As March 15 approaches, Chancellor Dubois and regional leaders are educating the community about the Connect NC Bond. Here's what you need to know.
Momentum is building as North Carolinians learn that no new taxes are needed to pay for the $2 billion bonds. The bipartisan Debt Affordability Advisory Committee reported that the state could borrow the full $2 billion for the bonds without the need to raise taxes.
Businesses know it is a wise decision to invest capital into their companies when interest rates are low and demand for their services or products is high. The same is true for North Carolina. Interest rates are at a historic low and the state’s indebtedness will be lower in six years than it is today, even with the addition of $2 billion Connect NC bonds, because of retiring debt. The bonds will pay for 50 years of infrastructure with a 20-year payback period.
North Carolina has grown by more than two million people, the entire population of Nebraska, since the last bond vote in 2000, and the state’s infrastructure has not kept pace. The Connect NC Bond will fund improvements to local water and sewer infrastructure and invest in new hiking trails, facilities and educational programs at state parks. The valuable agribusiness community will be strengthened with $179 million in innovative agricultural research to improve yields and reduce costs. And, the Army National Guard will receive funding for three new readiness centers.
This is a critical moment for UNC Charlotte. The University has outgrown its current science building. Enrollment has increased by 142 percent since it was built and 76 percent since the last bond referendum. UNC Charlotte now accounts for 61 percent of the growth of the UNC system during the past five years.
The story is more than just growth; it is an increase in the number of students going into the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. More than 50 percent of the students with declared majors are in the science, engineering and math fields. Companies such as Duke Energy and AREVA in the energy sector, Siemens and Sealed Air in advanced manufacturing, Carolinas HeathCare System and Novant in the health services field, and many others, are pursuing UNC Charlotte graduates.
Chancellor Dubois recently discussed the bond package with community officials, including the Charlotte Chamber and Charlotte Regional Partnership. Future stops are the Union County Chamber of Commerce, the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber, the Gastonia Rotary and the University City Chamber.
Bob Wilhelm, vice chancellor for research and economic development, will speak to the Shelby Rotary, and Betty Doster, constituent relations, will meet with the Matthews Rotary. Rep. Dean Arp (’99 MS, civil engineering) recently spoke at a meeting of the UNC Charlotte Foundation Board.
As a state institution, UNC Charlotte is prohibited from advocating for or against the bond measure. We are permitted to educate the greater University community about the impact of this bond referendum on campus.