No Borrowing, Just New Priorities, Could Fund Redevelopment
August 17th, 2001 by Teri Jover
- The State announced August 9 that it will spend $1 billion to eliminate tolls on the Garden State Parkway in the next 10 years.
- The State will spend another $1.5 billion next year in annual payments on the state debt.
- Changing State priorities to “find” $1 billion to help rebuild New Jersey cities and older communities would not seem impossible – and could have an even greater impact on New Jersey’s future than the $1 billion being spent to preserve open space. Indeed, without rebuilding today’s communities to accommodate future growth, saving one million acres will not be possible.
It will take $2 million to demolish and cleanup the Newark-Irvington Pabst brewery site, but it’s unlikely any private buyer will make that investment – it’s more than the underlying land is worth.
The same is true of other sites in cities, towns and older suburbs across New Jersey. Ailing roads and sewers or high demolition and cleanup costs discourage buyers and investors from moving onto otherwise desirable sites, often near major transportation, across New Jersey; and encourages them to build on cheaper – and greener – fields instead.
State spending for redevelopment rose by at least $25 million in the last budget, but it’s still far too little money to achieve real change – and it’s dwarfed by state spending that encourages development of open lands instead, through corporate relocation grants and incentives, and sewer and road investment.
New Jersey Future proposes the creation of a $1 billion stable source of funding for redevelopment. (See “20 Ways to Move NJ Toward a More Prosperous, Just and Healthy Future,” on-line at www.njfuture.org) Such investment in redeveloping today’s communities need not be made by bond, as with open space funding – but it must be made if New Jersey is to remain strong, economically and environmentally.
Teri Jover, Policy Analyst