Now, lawmakers are taking steps to allocate $34 million, which represents the remaining dollars that have yet to be spent from that bond issue.
Committees in both the Assembly and Senate voted last week to approve a list of projects that will use up what remains of the $750 million “Building Our Future Bond Act” from 2012.
Much of the money that has yet to be spent will go to two-year colleges to pay for new academic buildings, according to the list of projects — which won bipartisan support.
Sponsors of the legislation said their approval will finally close the books on a major investment in higher educational facilities that was the first to occur in New Jersey in the last quarter century.
And a key business lobbying group also praised the spending as necessary to help New Jersey remain competitive with colleges and universities in other states as it seeks to keep students in-state after they graduate high school.
In all, the Christie administration has estimated that the bond funding, combined with money available from other state programs, has supported 176 building projects at 46 colleges and universities across the state, paying for new research laboratories, classrooms, and other facilities.
The $750 million general-obligation bond issue went before voters in November 2012 after receiving bipartisan support from lawmakers, and the ballot question ended up winning more than 60 percent approval at the polls.
But after the financing was approved, Gov. Chris Christie’s administration drew some criticism for not issuing all of the bonds right away and immediately spending the full amount of money that was approved by voters.
Among the explanations offered by officials at the time was a concern about flooding the bond market with too many offerings.
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