Etheridge for school contruction funds in econ. package

Washington, D.C. -— As Congressional leaders prepare an economic recovery package to fund infrastructure projects and create jobs, U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-Lillington) is asking for funds to be included for school construction.

Etheridge sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer requesting the funds be included in the bill, which is expected to be voted on this month.

“As the only former state schools chief serving in Congress, I know firsthand that our school infrastructure is in dire need of assistance and that quality education cannot take place in crowded schools,” said Etheridge. “Investing in school infrastructure would improve student health, help retain teachers, improve the quality of teaching and learning, and at the same time generate tens of thousands of new jobs.”

The economic recovery legislation is intended to create jobs and stimulate the economy by investing in infrastructure projects like roads and bridges. Etheridge is working to ensure that school construction funds are included as well. According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the funds could be at work within 30 to 60 days, meaning that North Carolina’s economy would benefit quickly.

Etheridge specifically asked the leadership to include his legislation H.R. 2470, The America’s Better Classrooms Act of 2007, in the bill. H.R. 2470 would provide a federal tax credit to bond holders to pay the interest on local school bonds. The state or school district would only be responsible for repaying the principal. Etheridge introduced similar legislation in his first term in Congress a decade ago. Etheridge’s bill would provide for $25 billion for school construction, with $448 million going to North Carolina.

Etheridge also asked for other school construction legislation to be considered if the leadership determined his bill could not fit within the scope of the bill.