By Bob Jordan

NEW BRUNSWICK — Despite a sluggish economy and a nearly double-digit unemployment rate, an undeterred group of government officials and business and labor leaders is betting that voters next month will approve $750 million in new borrowing for construction at New Jersey’s colleges and universities.

Gov. Kean
Former NJ Governor Tom Kean speaks at the Building Our Future kickoff event, Monday, October 8, 2012, in front of Brower Commons on the Rutgers University College Avenue Campus. / JASON TOWLEN/Staff Photographer
The “Building Our Future” coalition rallied Monday on Rutgers University’s College Avenue Campus to kick off a campaign to push for approval of the public question on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Construction projects would require a 25 percent match by the schools, increasing the value of investment to $1 billion — New Jersey’s largest financial commitment to higher education since a 1988 referendum of $350 million.

Former Gov. Tom Kean, who after serving as governor from 1982 to 1990 was president of Drew University for 15 years, said that level of public spending is overdue. Kean chaired Gov. Chris Christie’s higher education task force that called for increased funding.

New Jersey ranks 47th in higher education spending.


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