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New Jersey Future Praises Legislators for Recommending Significant Investment in State’s Water Infrastructure

Contact: Chris Sturm  (csturmatnjfuturedotorg)  , Managing Director, Policy and Water, 609-393-0008 ext. 114, 609-213-4673 (cell)
  
Task force report also recommends asset management, capacity-building

 

TRENTON, Jan. 3 — New Jersey Future today applauded the Joint Legislative Task Force on Drinking Water Infrastructure for its forthcoming report, which, according to a press statement issued today, will provide a comprehensive set of recommendations for upgrading New Jersey’s deteriorating water systems, including how to generate the significant investment needed for the upgrade.

“As a champion of smart growth and strong communities, New Jersey Future agrees that our state’s aging, inadequate water systems need a massive investment,” said Peter Kasabach, executive director at New Jersey Future. “We commend the Legislature for identifying the most strategic ways that state funding can be targeted in order to have the significant impact that is critically needed.”

Among the recommendations to be issued by the task force:

  • Asset management, to be incentivized by matching grants from the state Environmental Infrastructure Financing Program for upgrade investments, which would be made to utilities with robust asset management programs in place;
  • Capacity-building for smaller utilities, to be provided via grants and technical assistance from the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust;
  • Increased funding for replacement of lead pipes and mitigation of combined-sewer overflows;
  • More stringent requirements for accountability and transparency, including requiring standardized metrics to be reported.

The report recommends the issuance of $400 million in general-obligation bonds to help pay for upgrades to the state’s drinking water infrastructure.

The report reflects the extensive testimony gathered during its three public hearings from many water leaders, the majority of whom are, like New Jersey Future, members of the Jersey Water Works collaborative.

“The task force has recognized the importance of each of New Jersey’s water systems, including drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater, through its holistic ‘One Water’ approach,” said Chris Sturm, managing director for policy and water at New Jersey Future. “New Jersey Future looks forward to working with the Legislature, the Murphy administration, water utilities, local governments, and all members of the Jersey Water Works collaborative to advance the report’s recommendations.”

The task force was convened following the revelation that lead had been found in drinking water at a variety of schools across New Jersey. It was tasked with studying and making both short-term and long-term recommendations “concerning issues related to drinking water infrastructure in New Jersey,” according to the resolution that established it. Although many water systems are well managed, in too many communities century-old water pipelines are bursting and obsolete; unhealthy drinking water containing lead threatens our children’s brain development; and dysfunctional systems direct raw sewage, polluted runoff, or both mixed together into our local rivers and cause flooding of streets and basements.

Implementing the task force’s recommendations will benefit communities and utilities across New Jersey, and will be a significant catalyst in providing the necessary system upgrades to allow enhanced economic growth.

The task force is scheduled to meet at 10:00 am on Monday, Jan. 8.

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About New Jersey Future

Founded in 1987, New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes sensible growth, redevelopment and infrastructure investments to foster vibrant cities and towns, protect natural lands and waterways, enhance transportation choices, provide access to safe, affordable and aging-friendly neighborhoods and fuel a strong economy. The organization does this through original research, innovative policy development, coalition-building, advocacy, and hands-on technical assistance. New Jersey Future serves as the backbone staff for the Jersey Water Works collaborative.

© New Jersey Future, 16 W. Lafayette St. • Trenton, NJ 08608 • Phone: 609-393-0008 • Fax: 609-360-8478

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