Will the proposed $810 million Wake County school construction bond referendum be hurt by a $75 million transportation bond that the City of Raleigh wants to put on the same ballot?
As noted in today's article by Colin Campbell, proponents say the transportation bond is urgently needed to address Raleigh’s growth and traffic. But some county leaders don’t want the measure to compete with this fall’s school construction bond.
Wake County Commissioners’ Chairman Joe Bryan said that he and school board Chairman Keith Sutton want the city to postpone its referendum. Bryan says the delay is needed to ensure that the school bond passes.
“We hope that the mayor and the city council would see the value in placing the higher priority on education,” Bryan said. “People may look at voting for one or the other, and we really need them to support the school bond.”
But school board vice chairwoman Christine Kushner said she doesn’t see a city bond harming the schools’ referendum.
“I think they’re really complementary — not competing — interests,” Kushner said.
Like the school bond, the Raleigh bond would also call for a property tax increase to pay for the debt.
While Raleigh’s move has prompted some leaders to question whether voters will support two bond items in the same election cycle, city leaders say their transportation funding can’t wait.
Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin said the city has an increasingly long to-do list to ensure its roads can handle the influx of new residents. Its last bond was in 2011.
“We’re already far behind, and that really is the motivation,” she said.
If approved, the Raleigh bond would would fund about 15 multimillion-dollar road projects as well as smaller sidewalk and traffic calming measures. If the bond passes,