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New law could create millions in contracts.

The New Jersey Senate will vote on two pieces of legislation that may create millions in construction contracts throughout the state.

The Senate Education Committee last week released legislation to effectively pump $200 million into the state's county colleges so they can expand and renovate their facilities.

The bill (A-2049) would increase by $100 million the amount of bond and notes the state may issue to cover construction costs at county colleges.

By raising the bonding cap, county colleges would be able to leverage an additional $100 million in county borrowing for an overall $200 million boost in capital.

Statistics show that students who attain an associate's degree can earn up to $400,000 more in additional income over the course of their careers.

Moreover, 95 percent of community college students stay in New Jersey and join the workforce after leaving college.

Every tax dollar invested in a New Jersey community college produces an $18 return in benefits to the state, the council reports.

"County colleges are increasingly the schools of choice for low- and middle-income families in this state," said Assemblyman Douglas H.Fisher (D-Cumberland). "They fill an important role in communities all across the state."

The committee released the measure 4-0. It is now poised for a floor vote by the full Senate.

The second bill would create a 13-member panel known as the "Study Commission on New Jersey Highway Rest Areas for Truck Drivers" to consider how best to address the lack of rest areas for interstate truck drivers.

The panel would consist of transportation, public safety and elected officials, and would be responsible for studying the condition of existing rest areas within the state.

The panel also would have to make recommendations on how to best improve existing rest areas, as well as where to construct new and improved rest stops.

In March, the measure passed the Assembly 76-0. Last week's committee released the bill 5-0. It is now poised for a vote by the full Senate.
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Title Annotation:Profile in Construction & Design
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:May 19, 2004
Words:331
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