Gov. Roy Cooper is again pushing for a multibillion-dollar infrastructure bond, but Republican leaders caution that North Carolina’s still-unsteady economy makes it impossible to tell whether it would be prudent.

In remarks to the N.C. Association of County Commissioners on Thursday, Cooper said “now is the time” for the state to take on a massive amount of debt. He listed a number of places he’d like to spend the money — including construction at public schools and community colleges and universities, water and sewer lines, and other infrastructure needs.

“You’re never going to find better interest rates,” he said. “Our economy needs the money, and this is the time for North Carolina to move forward with a significant infrastructure bond. I’m hoping we can work together with the legislature to do that.”

Cooper’s comments on a bond appear similar to his previous bond proposals. In last year’s $25 billion recommended budget, Cooper asked for a $4.3-billion bond issuance to include $2 billion for public schools, $1 billion for colleges and universities, $800 million for water and sewer infrastructure, and $500 million for affordable housing.

The year before, Cooper called for $2 billion or more in bonds. The General Assembly instead opted to fund capital projects through a pay-as-you-go fund. That budget never made it past the governor’s veto.

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