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NJ Future 2016 Redevelopment Forum

Friday, March 11, 2016   (0 Comments)
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On Friday, March 11 GFOA of NJ staff attended the NJ Future Redevelopment Forum. The forum focused on a number of issues pertinent to New Jersey and featured prominent speakers like Senate President Steve Sweeney and Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr.

Senator Sweeney began the conference, delivering the breakfast keynote presentation. The Senator focused on the need for infrastructure improvements along with addressing the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF). Sweeney noted the correlation between robust infrastructure and economic performance, particularly for New Jersey. Sweeney noted that businesses need to have confidence that the state will invest in transportation before they will invest in the state.

The Amtrak Gateway Tunnel in particular signals New Jersey’s commitment to transportation, and is a needed project. With an estimated 90 million annual users by 2040, New Jersey will need increased capacity between the state and New York City. In addition to preventing gridlock, the tunnel will increase property values for municipalities along rail lines.

Sweeney continued, emphasizing the need to fix the TTF in order to finance the Amtrak Gateway Tunnel. He called for a two billion annual budget for the fund, noting the need for increased municipal and county funding. Where municipalities and counties sued to receive 20% of the TTF budget, that number has fallen to 11% in recent years. To make up the difference, towns have been forced to rely on property taxes, which hurt property owners and increases already high taxes.

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