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Amendment would provide additional $2.5 billion to repair, renovate, and modernize higher education facilities in the economic recovery package

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen has filed an amendment to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that would increase funding to repair, renovate, and modernize buildings and facilities at our nation’s colleges and universities by $2.5 billion, bringing the total funding for such projects to $6 billion. This funding would help address the severe backlog of “shovel-ready” projects necessary to ensure that the nation’s higher education institutions have adequate facilities and equipment. The additional funding would create an estimated additional 71,000 jobs.  Shaheen intends to offer the amendment for debate this afternoon.


“As we work to get our economy back on track, our top priority must be job creation,” said Senator Shaheen. “Investing in our nation’s institutions of higher education and enabling them to finance important infrastructure will not only create construction jobs in the short-term, but these upgrades will provide students a better education so they have the tools they need to find jobs when they join America’s workforce.”


The Congressional Research Service estimated that the Shaheen amendment could mean as much as an additional $10 million in funding for New Hampshire higher education infrastructure projects. Because of the high cost of borrowing in today’s economy and the sharp decline in state budgets, many shovel-ready infrastructure projects have been delayed or canceled. With an adequate level of funding, these projects will create jobs and build local economies.


New Hampshire’s colleges and universities have a number of shovel-ready modernization projects, including renovations to existing facilities at White Mountains Community College in Berlin to create a technology innovation center, which will include improved science laboratories that focus on science, technology, engineering and math, and high-priority University System of New Hampshire infrastructure projects ranging from roof repairs to new fire alarms to swage system upgrades.  Projects like these could benefit from this additional funding.

The Shaheen amendment was co-sponsored by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and is supported by many education groups including the Association of American Universities; American Association of Community Colleges; American Association of State Colleges and Universities; American Council on Education; National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; and United Negro College Fund.