The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) released a $1 billion Water Infrastructure Investment Plan (WIIP) members of the Murphy Administration will resolve issues plaguing New Jersey communities while creating good jobs at the same time.
The program would focus on both short- and long-term investments to deliver safe, reliable drinking water. Additionally, it would reduce flooding and improve the quality of New Jersey’s waterways.
“This once-in-a-generation opportunity allows New Jerseyans to participate in the planning process to shape and better their communities through these investments,” said Gov. Phil Murphy in a press statement. “I am grateful for the work of President Biden and our Congressional delegation to ensure that New Jersey receives billions of dollars for these critical water infrastructure projects while advancing environmental justice.”
Murphy said the WIIP reaffirmed the state’s commitment to modernize the state’s aging water infrastructure. It was a theme that North Jersey’s Congressional Delegation highlighted as well.
“For too long, outdated sewer and drinking water systems have posed a risk to public health and safety. Today’s massive investment will help our kids access clean and safety drinking water, improve quality of our rivers, streams, and beaches, create union jobs in New Jersey and help alleviate what is an expensive burden on our local governments,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Bipartisan Funding Source
The funding for the project stemmed from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, part of the Biden Administration’s larger Build a Better America plan.
“Modernizing New Jersey’s aging water infrastructure is not only critical to protecting the health of our families and our environment, but it also creates jobs and helps lay the foundation for future economic growth,” said Sen. Cory Booker. “I was proud to support the bipartisan infrastructure bill that delivered this critical funding and applaud Gov. Murphy and Commissioner LaTourette for their commitment to investing in New Jersey communities.”
Rep. Josh Gottheimer called the infrastructure bill a big win for the state, and that it would help New Jersey make progress on concerns he regularly heard from constituents.
“We cannot afford to take these risks with our children and students — the stakes are simply too high,” he said. “Now, thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, we will finally have the critical resources we need to help ensure that we have clean drinking water all across our state.”
Public Meetings and Engagement
The agency will partner with the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank (I-Bank) to engage with stakeholders across the state for three months to develop the parameters of the WIIP.
NJDEP already hosted public meetings Jan. 24 and Jan. 27 to assess needs and to set priorities in the project.
“Critical water infrastructure concerns around flooding, harmful algal bloom remediation, clean drinking water and PFAS are top of mind for local officials in my district, and I appreciate that the NJDEP and the Governor have visited our communities with me to hear these concerns as well and are continuing this stakeholder engagement with the process outlined today,” said Rep. Mikie Sherrill.