North Jersey Democratic leaders propose $1B investment in Newark as part of college merger plan
By Patricia Alex. Staff Writer. The Record.
North Jersey Democrats have drafted a proposal for nearly $1 billion in new public spending in Newark as part of Governor Christie’s university reorganization plan.
Record File Photo. The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark.
The Newark bid adds another layer of complexity and cost to an already intricate, seemingly fluid, and increasingly political plan to reorder some of the state’s largest universities.
And it has some wondering whether the plan, which began circulating on Thursday, is getting too big to succeed.
“This thing has begun to grow exponentially,” said Senator Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge, who chairs the budget committee. “Previous merger proposals fell apart under their own weight; the dollars got to be too much.”
Governor Christie set a July 1 deadline to begin implementing his plan to break up the Newark-based University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, ceding two of its schools and a cancer institute to Rutgers University in New Brunswick/Piscataway. The plan also called for Rowan University in Glassboro to take over Rutgers-Camden.
Although generally well-received in Central Jersey, the plan has faced opposition in the North and South and has been dogged by questions about cost – Christie provided no financial analysis in releasing the plan in January and has been mum on the issue since.