To the Editor:
On Nov. 6, New Jersey voters will be asked to approve the first major investment in New Jersey college facilities in 24 years. The Building Our Future Bond Act, which will be on the ballot as "Question 1," would provide $750 million in capital improvements for academic and research facilities at the state’s 49 colleges and universities. The funds would be targeted for academic buildings and could not be used to construct sports facilities or dormitories. Also, each college is required to match the funds they receive by 25 percent.
This investment will help prepare New Jersey students for the global marketplace; attract businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs; and power the state’s economy by creating construction jobs. New Jersey has not had a bond issue targeted to higher education construction since 1988.
The Building Our Future bond act has received bipartisan support. Gov. Christie supports the initiative and the bill placing the question on the ballot passed 76-1 in the State Assembly and 38-1 in the State Senate. As State Senator Anthony R. Bucco (R-25) has stated, “Investing in New Jersey’s colleges will benefit not only our students but the state’s economy at a time when we need it most.” It is estimated that the building projects generated by the bond funds will create 10,000 new construction jobs in New Jersey.
New Jersey is one of only five states in the nation that has spent no money on capital improvements for higher education in the last five years. Meanwhile, neighboring states such as New York and Connecticut are investing hundreds of millions of dollars each year in their institutions of higher learning. The long-term impact of the funds would allow New Jersey colleges to attract and retain the best students and faculty, stimulate economic growth, attract investment and train a highly-skilled workforce that would allow New Jersey to remain competitive.
I urge you to vote “yes” on Question 1 on Nov. 6.
—Edward J. Yaw
President, County College of Morris