Singleton, Sweeney, Stack Water Infrastructure Bills Become Law

TRENTON – Three bills sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Brian P. Stack that would allocate funds for projects supported by the Department of Environmental Protection and New Jersey Infrastructure Bank were signed into law by Governor Murphy today.

One law, S-2645, sponsored by Senator Singleton, will provide that each bond, note or other obligation issued by the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank for a combined sewer overflow project would mature not later than 45 years from the effective date, as opposed to the typical 30 years for other environmental infrastructure projects.  Combined sewer-overflow projects typically have a longer useful life than other environmental infrastructure projects.

“This law will allow municipalities to obtain less expensive financing for these large and costly projects that are so important in providing clean water to our communities,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington).  “This change will update the loan system to allow municipalities to more easily obtain financing for projects that will improve water quality and drinking water supplies for residents throughout the state, while simultaneously supporting economic development.”

Since its creation in 1985, the NJIB, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Protection, has provided low‑cost New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Financing Program loans for the construction of environmental infrastructure projects that enhance and protect ground and surface water resources, ensure the safety of drinking water supplies and make possible sustainable economic development.

Another law, S-2646/A-4170, sponsored by Senator Sweeney, will appropriate federal money to the DEP to implement the loan program, which is expected to finance approximately $810 million in Super Storm Sandy and other environmental infrastructure projects.

“We are in a great position to invest in infrastructure across New Jersey,” said Senate President Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Funding environmental efforts in infrastructure will help ensure that we have responsible and sustainable economic development across the state at the same time we help preserve our natural resources.”

The third law, S-2647/A-4169, sponsored by Senator Stack, will give authorization to the NJIB to provide loans with an interest rate at or below market rate to project sponsors for a portion of the total cost of more than 100 eligible environmental infrastructure projects.

“It is imperative to the future of New Jersey and the future of the country that we invest in green technology and work to protect the environment,” said Senator Stack (D-Hudson). “Funding these projects will allow us to improve water quality across the state and better protect our natural resources.”

To the extent that funds are available, principal forgiveness loans would be available for combined sewage overflow projects with a focus on green technology. For these projects, 50 percent of the loan will be forgiven, 25 percent of the loan will be interest free and 25 percent of the loan will be a trust market rate loan.

Loans will also be available for storm water runoff mitigation projects in the Barnegat Bay Watershed to continue addressing its critical water quality issues. Principal forgiveness loans would also be available to improve drinking water systems, including lead line replacements in qualifying communities.

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