Tag Archive: New Jersey Future

Sandy restoration without rose-tinted glasses

Our governor provides us with the good news version of Sandy restoration, but there is also another view. Until a few weeks ago, Ron Dabal’s two-bedroom cottage on Colony Road was entombed in sand. It had been dumped there by Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 29 and sat unmoved for five months, waiting for someone to haul it off. No one came.” A recent Monmouth University poll indicates that while two thirds of those in the hardest hit areas are now back to normal, about 1-in-7 are far from recovery, and that there is a dip in confidence over how federal aid is being spent.

  •  The Record revealed over the past week that AshBritt inflated the distance debris was hauled in order to obtain higher rates.

  •  New Jersey Future expressed disappointment in the “$1.8 billion Community Development Block Grant revised program proposed by the the Governor and then approved and modified by the feds because it did not address “planning for sea-level rise, identifying optimal places for buy-outs, analyzing regional vulnerabilities, incorporating green infrastructure to reduce the impacts of flooding, developing county and local hazard mitigation plans, and aligning investments behind a set of resiliency and sustainability principles.”  

  •  Regarding the revised program Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC) thanked U.S. HUD Secretary Donovan for recognizing that the Christie Administration had not proposed enough in recovery to support renters, Spanish speaking families, and lower-income people impacted by the storm. FSHC said, “HUD’s action today is a good start, but more work remains to ensure that everyone impacted in Sandy has a place.”

  •  Patch indicates, Christie vetoed a Sandy oversight bill saying, “it’s redundant because the State Comptroller is tasked with Sandy oversight and already maintains such a transparency website.” Actually, a review of the Sandy Transparency Website shows it currently lists some 70 state and local Sandy contract awards but provides no information on expenditures – critical data for any transparency.  

  • “Riders of the Lost ARC”

    The headline for the Sierra Club’s press release is “Riders of the Lost ARC, Stuck on the Jersey Side.” It goes on to say, “Today Governor Christie announced his decision to kill the ARC tunnel project, a decision that is wrong because the tunnel should be fixed, not cancelled. The decision by the Governor will set back New Jersey’s transportation needs. We believe that the Governor has killed this project to use the money towards the Transportation Trust Fund. This is wrong for New Jersey and the region because this will undermine our transportation needs and lead to sprawl and congestion.”

    You can read below the fold selections of what the following have said about our lost ARC:

  • Governor Chris Christie

  • Regional Plan Association

  • New Jersey Future

  • Tri-State Transportation Campaign

  • Charles Wowkanech, President of the NJ State AFL-CIO

  • U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg

  • U. S. Senator Robert Menendez

  • Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D- Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem)

  • Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex)

  • Ed Potosnak, Dem. nominee for New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District

  • Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce (R-Morris and Passaic)

    See their comments below the fold

  • The ARC of Destruction: A Bad Decision and Its Far-Reaching Effects

    promoted by Rosi

    You might wonder why a housing group is posting about the ARC Tunnel.

    It’s the economy, stupid.

    When New Jersey’s economy is strong, development grows – and, because of our strong state housing laws, more housing choices result for people of all incomes.

    When New Jersey’s economy is weak, it’s a lot harder to build homes, create jobs, do much of anything.

    And this decision is going to make our economy weaker and mean less investment in our state and fewer jobs. New Jersey Future and the Regional Plan Association have both very concisely and eloquently explained why that is, and I encourage you to read their blogs.

    Here’s the really short version: New Jersey did THE EXACT SAME THING before on a smaller scale, with Midtown Direct, in the mid-1990s. And it, along with two similar projects, increasing connections to New York boosted home values in NJ by $11 billion, representing $250 million in annual new property taxes in municipalities. It spurred levels of construction in towns like Maplewood and South Orange that hadn’t been seen in decades. And it meant that increasing numbers of higher-income people who work in New York moved to NJ instead of Westchester or Connecticut. Not to mention creating 6,000 good-paying, union construction jobs along the way.

    So we KNOW that this will work – unlike many other economic development schemes that are questionable at best. It’s not partisan – if anything these are what you would think of as conservative, pro-business talking points. You know, a rising tide lifts all boats. That’s why not-exactly-progressive publications like Crain’s New York Business and the Economist are panning this choice.

    Oh and by the way the state only had to pay less than one-third of the cost of the ARC Tunnel – with money that otherwise not only comes from outside sources and is not likely to go to NJ, but according to this morning’s news carries a penalty of up to $300 million to pay back.

    And the cost overruns cited by Gov. Christie? The federal government hasn’t even done an analysis of them yet – it’s supposed to come out in the next few days. He’s just speculating on numbers.

    This decision is bad for jobs, it’s bad for housing, and it’s bad for the future of New Jersey. It just doesn’t make any sense. And it’s even more of a challenge to the Legislature to come up with an alternative vision of the future of the state that will produce economic development, jobs, and housing that benefit all New Jerseyans.