By Brenda Flanagan
Carteret’s Fire Department launched its boat from Waterfront Park into the Arthur Kill to run safety drills this morning. But the city wants to add ferries along the narrow waterway based at a terminal they built on a redeveloped Brownfields site, and most importantly, paid for in part by federal infrastructure grants.
“We’re going to have a ferry terminal to Manhattan to Pier 9 and Pier 11. It’ll provide 1,000 parking spaces, right off the NJ Turnpike, right adjacent to our Waterfront Park,” said Carteret Mayor Dan Reiman.
“There are things that can be done on a bipartisan basis and I think infrastructure is one of them,” Rep. Frank Pallone said.
Pallone’s sponsoring the Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s America, or LIFT America Act. It’d spend $70 billion in federal money over five years, although that falls far short of the president’s grander vision.
“I will be asking Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure of the U.S., financed through both public and private capital creating millions of new jobs,” President Donald Trump said.
“There are 450,000 Brownfields sites in the U.S. and I believe that New Jersey has the most. So obviously we could spend this money, and more.”
Across the U.S., Pallone’s LIFT America Act would invest $2.25 billion in Brownfields redevelopment, like Carteret’s. It also designates more than $22 billion for upgraded drinking water infrastructure that removes lead contamination; $17 billion for modernized energy grids; $3 billion for building health care infrastructure including Zika labs; and $40 billion for expanded secure broadband internet access. Trades unions approve because jobs are on the line.
“It’s all for the betterment of the country. Personally, I think they need to grow up and they need to start working together,” said Kevin Duncan, president of the Middlesex County Building and Construction Trades Council.
Recent political turmoil in Washington does raise obstacles, but Pallone says they did pass a spending bill and he doesn’t want to put this off.
“Most of the things we’re hearing from the White House is, ‘Well, we’ll do that in the fall or maybe next year.’ I don’t want to wait because as you know when you have a two-year session, as you get closer to November 2018, it becomes more difficult to work together,” said Pallone.
Pallone will introduce the LIFT America Act sometime next week, but it’s anyone’s guess when Congress will send an infrastructure bill to the president. However, the moment he signs one, Carteret will be in line for funding.