A $1 billion investment in smart infrastructure could create nearly 27,000 jobs and increase New England’s GDP by $9 billion, according to a new report by the New England Council (NEC) and Deloitte Development LLC.
The report, “Smart Infrastructure in New England: An investment for growth and prosperity” was released at a NEC breakfast meeting in Boston last week.
“Smart Infrastructure” incorporates traditional infrastructure systems like transportation, telecommunications and energy with skilled workforce and reliable financing towards economic development.
Deloitte Principal and the report’s primary author, Mike Reopel, noted that the report’s recommendations include:
- Supporting the development of three New England subregions—the I-91 Corridor, the Down East Corridor of Maine and New Hampshire, and the Blackstone Valley Corridor/Quiet Corner—to create a supply chain between those regions and the industry and knowledge hubs in Eastern Massachusetts.
- Enacting new laws that authorize and support public-private partnerships;
- Creating a regional infrastructure bank that would address financing needs for interstate investments; and
- Developing a framework for collaboration that connects companies with community college and vocational schools to develop training programs that meet the needs of the labor market.
Higher education institutions in each New England state already collaborate with local business and workforce investment boards to ensure alignment between local economic needs and curriculum offerings—many of which are supported by state-level frameworks and strategies. Regional networks could further catalyze connections between the economy and higher education and perhaps increase efficiencies in program offerings and certifications across the region.
NEBHE is one example of such a regional network. Its regional tuition discount for New Englanders (the Regional Student Program) strengthens interstate collaboration to minimize the duplication of high-cost academic programs.
Among next steps, the NEC will present the report to the New England Congressional Delegation and each New England governor’s office in the coming weeks.