Volume 5/Issue 18

  • NJ and NY Governors Call on Obama Administration to Split Costs for New Tunnel
  • Jersey City Announces New PILOT Program to Spur Affordable Housing
  • Newark City Council Takes Action to Bring Casino to Brick City

NJ and NY Governors Call on Obama Administration to Split Costs for New Tunnel

Acknowledging the need for action, Governors Christie and Cuomo sent a joint letter to President Obama yesterday calling on the federal government to provide grants for funding half of the estimated $20 billion Gateway Tunnel Project with New Jersey, New York and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) developing a financing plan to pay for the remaining costs.

The Governors’ letter notes that the states and the PANYNJ will convene all relevant agencies and utilize a proposed federal low-interest loan, local funding sources, and other funding strategies necessary to complement the federal grant commitment.

The Governors noted that request for federal funding is justified when comparing the $20B cost of the Gateway Tunnel to the costs of the largest recent projects in their states, citing the $4 billion Tappan Zee Bridge, a new LaGuardia Airport at $4 billion and the Bayonne Bridge at $1.5 billion.

The Governors stated that the PANYNJ “is prepared to take the lead in this effort, and is prepared to take Senator Schumer's suggestion to create a dedicated staff and an entity within the Port Authority to develop such a plan and get the right agencies and parties involved.”

The Governors also requested that the federal government “expedite all environmental and planning approvals,” and that the State of New Jersey will provide “all the planning work accomplished during discussion on the ARC Tunnel.”

Click here to view the joint letter.

Jersey City Announces New PILOT Program to Spur Affordable Housing  

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop recently unveiled a new tiered payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) program designed to provide greater development in targeted, more underserved areas of the city, make the process more transparent and to continue to provide financial incentives that encourage development along the waterfront.

The proposal identifies multiple geographical areas of the city as tiers (or zones). The first three tiers are based on a combined analysis of census tracts by Area Median Income (AMI), recognized redevelopment areas and conditions/quality of the infrastructure. The fourth tier targets areas of the city most in need of development. The fifth and sixth tiers are developments deemed to be so important to the city’s interests that they must be treated outside of the geographically defined tiers.

Each tier is eligible for different incentives and terms of abatements. For example, for the first tax abatement tier, which is comprised of the downtown and waterfront areas, etc., developers can apply for a ten-year PILOT, but must meet certain affordable etc., housing obligations, either by building a certain percentage of moderate income units or by making a voluntary contribution to the City’s affordable housing trust fund based on a certain formula.  By comparison, sixth tier projects, which cover hotel, commercial and industrial projects, can see 30-year PILOTs but must meet other special requirements.

Click here to read Mayor Fulop's executive order and here to read the full housing plan.

Newark City Council Takes Action to Bring Casino to Brick City

Earlier this month, the Newark City Council voted to make amendments to the City’s “Newark Downtown Core District Redevelopment Plan,” which would allow for a casino to be sited in the urban center.

The plan has the support of Mayor Ras Baraka and Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, who previously cited Newark’s transportation infrastructure (e.g. rail access via Penn Station, Newark Liberty International Airport and proximity to major highways) as an ideal destination for a North Jersey casino.

According to a Star Ledger article, the amendments to the redevelopment plan include a provision “that allows for ‘licensed casino or gaming.’ " The actions taken by the council are preliminary, as legislation at the State level would need to be passed and signed into law to expand casinos outside of Atlantic City.

The legislature may take up a casino expansion bill after the Assembly elections in November or when the new Legislature convenes in January.