No Fruition For Romney On Major Higher Ed Plans

Ann McClure's picture
Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mitt Romney rarely visited the University of Massachusetts as governor, but on July 18, 2005, he called a news conference at the system’s Boston campus. It was sweltering out, but he barely broke a sweat. Standing in an underground parking garage so dilapidated it endangered the buildings above, he pledged $50 million for repairs.

What happened next would be part of a pattern marking his four-year effort to change higher education. His plan went nowhere.

Romney introduced a bill that could have paid for the garage, but he did not include a specific earmark for the project - a common way of attracting support in the Legislature. Weeks after the press conference, a high official of UMass said, he asked legislators about the garage and received only blank stares.

The Legislature ultimately gave UMass Boston $12 million, barely enough for emergency repairs, and the garage continued to crumble. The cost of fixing it went up. A year after Romney came calling, UMass deemed it unfixable and shut it down.

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