The long-awaited Gateway Tunnel came one step closer to becoming a reality when Congress included $3 billion in the giant federal spending bill that can be tapped to help fund the project.
The allowances were included in the $1.5 trillion spending bill approved by Congress this week and sent to President Joe Biden for his signature. The legislation funds the federal government until September 30.
The measure also includes funds to help low-income New Jerseyans pay their winter heating bills, protects the Egg Harbor Township Aviation Technology Center and renews grants to urban areas to help with housing projects. and community development.
“We don’t have the opportunity every day to secure billions of dollars in critical federal funding for programs to support hard-working families, protect communities and ensure every child has a chance to succeed. “said U.S. Senator Robert Menendez.
US Senator Cory Booker called it “a landmark bipartisan government funding bill that will help address the greatest challenges we face at home and abroad.”
“This legislation invests in the American people, helps reduce rising costs, and will create well-paying jobs,” Booker said.
Biden will sign the bill as soon as he receives it, White House spokesman Andrew Bates said Friday. On Friday, the president signed a short-term temporary extension to keep government open.
Here’s what’s in the New Jersey bill, according to Menendez and Booker.
Aeronautical Research Center. The legislation prevented the Federal Aviation Administration from restructuring the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township. The FAA had proposed having the center’s research, development, test, and evaluation operations run by different officials at FAA headquarters, rather than having a single administrator in Egg Harbor Township reporting to officials. of the agency in Washington.
Community Development Block Grants. The bill provides $3.3 billion for urban areas for housing and economic development. New Jersey and 56 municipalities received $92.1 million last year.
Local projects. Dozens of local projects requested by each member of the state’s congressional delegation, including funding for community groups, pedestrian walkways and college programs.
Gateway tunnel. The legislation includes $2.2 billion for capital investment grants and $874.5 million for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. Both sources can be used to help pay for the federal share of construction of the new $12.3 billion rail tunnel under the Hudson River.
The US Department of Transportation raised the project’s rating in January, making it eligible for federal funding.
“When the money is there on the table, there’s no more guesswork about it,” said Rep. Donald Payne Jr., D-10th Dist., chairman of the railroad subcommittee of the Bedroom. “The resources are there. It’s just a matter of lining up all our ducks, all the plans are in place, and we start digging.
Hurricane Sandy. The federal government is asking for $73 million from more than 1,800 New Jersey residents who received more aid than they were entitled to. The bill gives them a two-year reprieve from having to repay the money, in hopes that Congress will cancel the debt in the future.
Heating assistance program for low-income people: The program was funded at $3.8 billion. Last year, it provided $112.7 million to help low-income New Jersey residents pay their heating and cooling bills.
Marijuana. The US Department of Justice has again been barred from enforcing the federal ban on cannabis in New Jersey and other states that have legalized the drug for medical purposes.
Police funding. The legislation includes $512 million for the Community Oriented Policing Program, which provides federal funding to local police departments to help them hire more law enforcement professionals. Last November, the Department of Justice awarded $11.8 million to six New Jersey municipalities — Bayonne, Camden County, New Brunswick, Paterson, Plainfield and Prospect Park — allowing them to hire 72 new officers.
Picturesque rivers: The Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers program aims to keep rivers – including Great Egg Harbor, Lower Delaware, Mauritius and Musconetcong – in natural, flowing conditions. The bill provides $4.9 million for the program.
Teterboro Airport. The federal government will not be able to increase weight restrictions on planes using Teterboro Airport.
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