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Easley moves up construction projects to stimulate economy

Gov. Mike Easley is putting more than $700 million in education and public safety building projects on the fast track in hopes of stimulating the state's economy. Economists estimate that every $1 million dollars spent on construction projects in North Carolina generates $2.5 million for the state's economy. And 36 new jobs. So that's why even in a tight economy, Gov. Easley is pushing the accelerator on 27 building projects. A $57 million dollar Energy Production Infrastructure Center at UNC-Charlotte is on the list. All of the projects were previously approved by the General Assembly, but weren't scheduled for financing until the spring. Governor's spokeswoman Renee Hoffman says Easley hopes to have them underway in January. "By fast tracking these a couple of months, we get the bonds issued earlier and we're able to move forward with some of these projects," says Hoffman. "This is going to create about 26,000 new jobs." Hoffman says it also makes sense to start the projects early because interest rates and building costs are lower.