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Murphy and NJ Legislators Agree to Spend $700 Million of Your Money on Economic Growth and Public Health

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image courtesy of https://www.huffpost.com/

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Edwin J. Torres / NJ Governor’s Office

(The Center Square) – Gov. Phil Murphy and legislative leaders agreed to allocate nearly $700 million for initiatives they say will help “stimulate economic growth and improve public health.”

The funding includes $435 million from the New Jersey Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund and $262.6 million from the American Rescue Plan’s (ARP) State Fiscal Recovery Fund. New Jersey received more than $6 billion from the feds as part of the ARP legislation.

“This proposal will allow us to responsibly fund capital construction and continue using federal dollars for one-time, transformative investments in our residents, communities, and infrastructure,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in an announcement.

The Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund money includes $345 million for the NJ Wind Port and related infrastructure and $90 million for the Rowan University School of Veterinary Medicine/Cooper Medical School.

Meanwhile, according to a memo to the Joint Budget Oversight Committee, Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Lynn Azarchi said the proposal for the ARP funds includes $100 million for the Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC), a Level 1 Trauma Center. The money would support “its efforts to strengthen regional health emergency preparedness infrastructure.”

It also includes $40 million to create a program “to fill COVID-induced funding gaps in already underwritten and in-process affordable housing and community development projects,” Azarchi wrote. The Department of Community and Affairs (DCA) and the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) would run the program.

The proposal includes another $37.5 million to implement an eviction prevention program. It would provide targeted support for people who need help applying for various tasks, including hiring temporary staff to determine and disburse assistance payments.

Meanwhile, the state looks to use $25 million to help buy a disused rail corridor in Essex and Hudson counties, money supplementing funds from the Green Acres State Land Acquisition program.

The plan calls for $20 million to support Inspira Health’s proposed acquisition of the Salem Medical Center and $10 million to help retail and pedestrian activity in urban areas with mass transit “that have faced economic harms from the reduction in commuters due to the pandemic.” Another $10 million would go toward a new community center in Pennsauken Township.

It also includes $5 million each for three different programs, including money for RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers University Behavioral Health for “programming related to addressing increased behavioral health needs due to the pandemic.”

Another supports pandemic-related efforts (including educational and social services) of this facility in Glenfield Park. The third is an expansion of a marketing program to highlight the benefits of doing business in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, the proposal includes $3 million for the modernization and renovation of the Emergency Department at the Morristown Medical Center and $2 million for eligible costs for the National Historical Park in the City of Paterson. Lastly, the state has proposed $100,000 to support Vernon Township’s public health efforts related to environmental remediation.

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