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Lesniak bill heads to Economic Growth Committee Thursday

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The Senator's proposed bill could provide $25 million to kickstart facility plan.

Chris Chambers/Getty Images

On Tuesday, news emerged that Senator Ray Lesniak is sponsoring a bill that would provide Rutgers (and NJIT and Rowan) with $25 million in tax credits for improvements in infrastructure.

Lesniak has hinted it would be wise for Rutgers to use the cash to kickstart a plan for new athletic facilities.  And judging by Lesniak's report released last week, Rutgers would be smart to invest that full $25 million into athletics.

On Thursday, the bill begins its road to reality with a meeting with the five-person Economic Growth committee.  If passed, the bill would then move to the Senate.

So, how much is $25 million in terms of new athletic facilities?  Let's take a look at some of the improvements other Big Ten schools have made in the past year.

Northwestern, who recently broke ground on its new facilities, is expected to spend approximately $220 million on a new Lakefront Athletics and Recreation Complex.

Minnesota sunk $190 million into its new athletic complex.

And Maryland's plan for a renovated Cole Field House costs $155 million.

As you can see, it is certainly not enough to fully cover new facilities. However, the $25 million would be a great starting point and, after years of speculation about new facilities, that is exactly what Rutgers needs.  With donors and alumni realizing the university is serious about investing in athletics, Rutgers could certainly build on that $25 million and turn it into the $150-200 million needed to match its Big Ten foes.

After years of talk about new facilities, Senator Lesniak has finally initiated action.  And it all begins tomorrow.

Stay tuned for updates on how the bill fares with the Economic Growth committee.