Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Bills appropriating $1.94B for drinking water and infrastructure projects signed by NJ Gov. Christie

Sayreville pump station will be “hardened” against flooding (Photo: Hatch-Mott MacDonald ) 
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed legislation authorizing up to $1.94 billion in state financing for projects to improve drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. The funding includes $776 million to upgrade and protect facilities from storms and flooding such as occurred during Superstorm Sandy.

In a news release, Christie said: “Through this legislation, more than 280 projects will be authorized for low-interest loans and no-interest financing that will make infrastructure throughout New Jersey more storm-resilient, enhance and protect the state’s water quality, and create jobs and advance economic development.”

The New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust (NJEIT) and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have been working in partnership for decades to provide financing to projects that will protect and enhance water quality. This mission took on added significance following Sandy, with the development of the Statewide Assistance Infrastructure Loan, or SAIL, program, which expedites the financing process to get work done more quickly in anticipation of Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster reimbursement.

Operators of infrastructure in New Jersey have undertaken a wide range of storm-resiliency projects, including replacement and hardening of pump stations, restoring and protecting key treatment and administrative facilities, construction of flood-protection walls and elevation of existing walls, ensuring backup power generators are protected, relocating infrastructure to safer ground, and construction of pumping systems to remove flood waters.

“Projects such as these are critical to ensuring these vital public services remain in operation in times of natural disasters, and that our environment is protected,” NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin said. “Sandy dealt a devastating blow to our drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, much of which is located along rivers and coastal areas that are vulnerable to severe flooding.”

Storm-hardening projects authorized for funding include:

  • Nearly $185 million for the Middlesex County Utilities Authority that will allow for restoration of Sayreville and Edison pump stations, and takes steps to protect them from future flooding. The financing will also fund upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant;
  • Approximately $78 million for the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission for repairs and upgrades to infrastructure;
  • More than $72 million for ongoing restoration and resiliency projects for the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority in Union Beach;
  • More than $33 million for work to construct a sea wall and improve the resiliency of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority treatment plant in Atlantic City;
   Nearly $16 million for construction of wet weather pumping stations and up to $30 million in additional funds for storm water and green infrastructure to address flooding in Hoboken.


A-4527/S-2964 (Pintor Marin, Diegnan, Tucker, Pinkin/Smith, Bateman) - Makes certain changes to Environmental Infrastructure Trust Financing Program

A-4528/S-2957 (Prieto, Coughlin, Taliaferro, Andrzejczak, Wimberly, Caride/Sweeney, T. Kean) - Authorizes New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust to expend certain sums to make loans for environmental infrastructure projects for FY2016

A-4529/S-2962 (Spencer, Mukherji, Eustace, Burzichelli, Jimenez, Egan, Caputo/Sweeney, T. Kean) - Appropriates funds to DEP for environmental infrastructure projects for FY2016

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