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Economic Opportunity Act Will Dilute State Incentives and Subsidize Sprawl – Unless Amended

March 13th, 2013 by

: This article was originally published March 8, and has since been re-published to highlight New Jersey Future’s testimony to the Senate Economic Growth Committee and the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

aerial of Suburban sprawl in New Jersey. -RebeccaWilson

Suburban sprawl in New Jersey. ©Rebecca Wilson/ Flickr

New Jersey’s planning and transportation organizations issued a joint statement (PDF) March 7 to urge amendments to the Economic Opportunity Act A3680/S2583.  The bill provides a useful update and new funds for New Jersey’s programs to attract and retain jobs, and it increases incentives for small projects.  But it also allows too-generous incentives without sufficient regard for smart-growth areas – a fundamental change in policy direction for a state that has traditionally used the State Plan as a blueprint for investment. The bill, if unamended, will enable the subsidization of sprawl and provide incentives for greenfield development over redevelopment. These concerns are echoed in a recent letter from the Central Jersey Transportation Forum (PDF), a long-standing gathering of mayors, county representatives, state agencies, major employers, and non-profit organizations in the broad 25-municipality Route 1 corridor between Trenton and New Brunswick.

New Jersey Future has prepared a summary of concerns and recommended amendments (PDF). 

We also testified (PDF) at the recent Senate Economic Growth Committee hearing and the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

It allows too-generous incentives in areas that will promote sprawl and encourage greenfield development over redevelopment.

If you support the State Plan and believe that state incentives are most effective when focused strategically in locations with infrastructure and transit hubs, and/or if you’re concerned about sprawl development spreading further, please contact these decision-makers, as well as your own legislators.  And don’t delay; the bill is moving through committees. 

 Please contact New Jersey Future Senior Director of State Policy Chris Sturm with any questions. 

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