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Assembly Approves Measure to Provide No-Interest Loans for Site Remediation

A bill sponsored by Assembly members Craig J. Coughlin, Connie Wagner, and Jack Conners that would provide funding to help local governments clean up contaminated properties has been unanimously approved by the General Assembly.

The bill (A-3167) would authorize the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to provide a no-interest loan to a municipality, county or redevelopment entity for up to 25 percent of the cost of a remedial action in a Brownfield development area.

“In the current economic environment, with towns everywhere hurting for revenue and credit all but frozen, this is not just a much-needed environmental measure, it’s an economic stimulus measure,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex) whose 19th legislative district includes four sites totaling nearly 1,000 acres that would qualify for funding under this bill.

The loans would come from the state’s Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund and be repayable over a period not to exceed 10 years. The state currently has 31 sites designated as Brownfields redevelopment areas which would qualify for funding under this bill. Altogether, the sites total 3,290 acres.

“This is not only a quality of life issue, but an economic issue. If private developers can’t get access to credit and local governments can’t afford to offer tax abatements, hazardous properties will continue to remain a blight on the community. Redeveloped properties will put people back to work and provide a desperately needed boost to local tax bases,” said Wagner (D-Bergen) whose 38th legislative district includes a 15-acre site in Lodi that would qualify for funding under this bill.

“New Jersey has had a great deal of success in remediating Brownfields properties over the last several decades. But that success has largely been dependent on state and federal assistance, something this bill is mindful of,” said Conners (D-Burlington/Camden), whose 7th legislative district includes a 650-acre site in Pennsauken and a 190-acre site in Palmyra that would qualify for this funding.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.