Asumag 5346 Headshot Joe Agron

Investing in Infrastructure

June 1, 2017
For schools and beyond, interest in infrastructure issues will surely grow—especially over the months ahead.

Infrastructure is top of mind. Whether as a result of reports on how poor current conditions are or the huge investment required to correct the problems, interest in infrastructure issues will surely grow—especially over the months ahead. 

Part of the new administration’s policy push is to eventually introduce a massive infrastructure program that would spark investment, create jobs and address growing needs. Although specifics of the plan still are undisclosed, the eventual introduction of an infrastructure initiative is eagerly anticipated and expected to garner widespread support.

Recently on the infrastructure front, a House bill was introduced in May that would allocate more than $100 billion to education infrastructure. The Rebuild America’s Schools Act of 2017—introduced by Rep. Robert C. Scott, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Education & the Workforce—would address “critical physical and digital infrastructure needs in schools.” The bill proposes a combination of grant and tax-credit programs, and is projected to help create more than 1.9 million jobs.

Federal education infrastructure investment has been introduced numerous times over the years. While in theory an easy concept to support (improving the condition of America’s schools), actual passage of the various bills has met with mixed success. It will be interesting to see where education infrastructure fits as the president’s larger infrastructure proposal is introduced.

However, education institutions are not waiting for federal initiatives when it comes to moving forward to improve infrastructure and build schools. Many institutions are putting together plans that will secure investment to address critical infrastructure needs.

Among the bond issues passed in May to address education facility needs include Portland (Ore.) district’s $790 million construction proposal, and measures by a number of schools and colleges in Texas (Lewisville district $737 million; Collin College $600 million; Clear Creek ISD $487 million; Alamo Colleges district $450 million and Northwest ISD $399 million).

The continued focus on infrastructure investment will be a positive in many ways. A big question, however, will be where education fits in any upcoming plans—and to what extent lawmakers agree that providing needed incentives and funding to improve America’s school facilities is a priority. 

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