Raleigh residents vote tomorrow, October 11, on bonds for affordable housing and transportation. At a time when Raleigh residents continue to pay higher rent prices amidst dwindling incomes, seniors find it more and more difficult to stay in safe homes, and the state faces a deteriorating infrastructure problem, voters have an opportunity to support programs that lead to better long-term economic growth. Moreover, record-low interest rates and high unemployment make now an especially cost-effective time to borrow and invest in the city of Raleigh.
Under the housing bond, city officials would provide low-interest loans to developers to rehabilitate and build affordable housing. Some of the funds would also assist making housing affordable for seniors, provide relief assistance to tornado victims, and support neighborhood revitalization. Raleigh voters previously approved of three hosing bonds—in 1990, 2000, and 2005—which supported the development of 2,788 units of affordable housing.
The transportation bond is multi-modal, meaning that financing would be available for more than just roads. Financing would be available for other transit-oriented projects, including building and repairing sidewalks, improving bus stops and transit stations, and creating additional bike lines among other measures. Accessible and affordable transportation not only creates healthy, connected neighborhoods, but it also improves access to economic opportunities—such as employment and education prospects.
More important than ever, Raleigh needs to continue to build strong neighborhoods and invest in multi-modal infrastructure if it is to remain economically competitive.