Volume 7/Issue 7

  • NJ Transit Holds Hearing on Extending Hudson-Bergen Light Rail
  • Gubernatorial Tidbits
  • State Commission Approves Governor Christie’s $300M State House Renovation Plan
  • NJ Department of Health Proposes Regulations on Stillbirth Law

NJ Transit Holds Hearing on Extending Hudson-Bergen Light Rail

NJ Transit recently held a public hearing to review Hudson-Bergen Light Rail’s (HBLR) Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SD-EIS), a required step in the process to move the project towards construction. The project received $5 million from a $400 million supplemental appropriation bill passed by the Legislature and signed into law last month by Governor Christie, to ensure the completion of the EIS process this spring.

The HBLR would bring light rail to Bergen County for the first time, extending it eight miles from its existing terminus Jersey City to Englewood Hospital in Bergen County.

The hearing was attended by State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and fellow Bergen County Senator Bob Gordon, longtime advocates of the project.

Gubernatorial Tidbits

A brief compilation of news surrounding the governor’s race as we head towards the June 6th Primary:

  • Former Ambassador Phil Murphy introduced his initiative to grow New Jersey’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) economy by creating an ecosystem to nurture tech businesses, increasing the accessibility of STEM education, and strengthening privacy safeguards.  Among its provisions, the plan would increase state funding for research and development and provide access to high speed internet for all state residents, require a computer science education for every child and implement a loan forgiveness program for STEM educators in high-need schools.
  • Lt. Governor Guadagno unveiled a plan to cut property taxes up to $3,000 for homeowners who pay more than 5 percent of their household income on school taxes.  Depending on the school district, the Lt. Governor’s plan estimates an average savings of $1,000 annually for qualifying households. If enacted the proposal would cut property taxes by more than $1.5 billion statewide.
  • During a meeting with the Bergen Record Editorial Board, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli stated that funding NJ Transit projects with monies from the recently replenished Transportation Trust Fund would be a priority of his administration.  He also proposed a new income tax agreement with the State of New York to fund the Gateway Tunnel if  the Trump Administration were to pull federal funding for the project.

State Commission Approves Governor Christie’s $300M State House Renovation Plan

The State Capitol Joint Management Commission, a panel of representatives of the senate and assembly partisan offices and officials from the Governor’s Office and State Treasurer gave one of the final approvals this week to move forward on Governor Christie’s $300 million State House renovation plan.

The plan includes the renovation and restoration of the exterior and interior of the State House, curing code and ADA violations and providing for enhanced security measures. 

The controversial renovation will take four years to complete, preventing the next administration, who will take office in January 2018, from occupying the executive wing of the State House until the very end of that person's term at the earliest.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno has vociferously opposed the renovation and has vowed to terminate the plan if elected.

NJ Department of Health Proposes Regulations on Stillbirth Law

The NJ Department of Health recently proposed new rules to the implement the "Autumn Joy Stillbirth Research and Dignity Act" that was signed into law in January 2014.

The law required the Department to establish policies and procedures to ensure the dignified and sensitive management of each stillbirth and of a family's grieving process and requires the agency to collect information on stillbirths.

River Crossing Strategy Group was happy to work closely with our friend and advocate Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya, as well as Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, on the passage of this important initiative and we are grateful that it is near full implementation.