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TRENTON, NJ-Two years ago, the legislature passed the Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act, which presumed to provide the construction business in New Jersey with an $8.6 billion shot in the arm. Since then, however, the program has become mired in multi-agency bureaucracy, and has made little progress.

That could change, and quickly. Gov. James McGreevey has signed an executive order creating The Schools Corp., aimed at jump-starting the program and getting those construction bucks flowing again. Interestingly, McGreevey has tapped one of the construction industry’s most noted figures to head up the program – Alfred T. McNeill, former CEO and chairman for the Turner Corp., one of the largest building construction companies in the world, has gotten the job.

While the program will focus on the development and redevelopment of schools, rather than commercial real estate per se, the construction business in general in New Jersey will be the beneficiary of a huge boost in business over the next several years. According to McGreevey, “for too long, this historic initiative to build and renovate schools has been an unfulfilled promise. It was mired in bureaucracy, delays and mismanagement. This order provides for the critical attention that is needed.”

The Schools Corp., which will operate as a subsidiary of the NJ EDA, will carry out the guidelines of the EFCF Act. The $8.6 billion will come from State and local resources to build new educational facilities and rehab old ones throughout the Garden State.

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