Lawmakers Support Universities and Infrastructure

By Sarah Birnbaum

May 15, 2012

BOSTON — Massachusetts House leaders unveiled plans on Monday to boost funds for universities and local infrastructure programs as part of an omnibus economic development bill. One part of the bill would direct $50 million in matching grants to research and development projects sponsored by universities in the state, with half of the money reserved for the University of Massachusetts.
House speaker Robert DeLeo said investing in research and universities will grow jobs and improve the economy.
“I am proud this bill targets many of the areas where state government can make a difference. We take steps, important steps that Massachusetts is still the home of invention and innovation,” he said.
The bill would also increase state funding for a program called I-Cubed to $400 million, an increase of $150 million. The program gives developers state bonds funds to build public infrastructure like roads and sewers. In return, they agree to create a certain number of jobs and generate new tax revenues. But there's a catch that might not sit well with municipal officials: If the new project fails to generate enough taxes to cover the state's costs, the host town could be on the hook for the money. 

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