Browsing articles in "Speaks Out Blog"

Opinion: Marking Time Until The Revised State Plan Can be Adopted

Aug 14, 2013   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Economic Development, Lucy Vandenberg, NJ Spotlight, Opinion, PlanSmart NJ, Policy, Speaks Out Blog, State Plan  //  Comments Off on Opinion: Marking Time Until The Revised State Plan Can be Adopted

The blueprint for growth and preservation is integral not just to development but also to quality of life in New Jersey

As New Jersey residents watch a variety of important economic growth, Hurricane Sandy, and open-space protection bills wind their way through the Legislature this summer, it’s hard not to think how much further along we would be if New Jersey had adopted a new State Plan. word cloud for state plan

New Jersey’s revised State Plan, our state’s blueprint for growth and land preservation, was originally set to be adopted by the State Planning Commission last year. The new State Plan — still in draft form — provides a broad framework for how and where development should take place in New Jersey, as well as criteria for conservation. Unfortunately, the revised State Plan is in a deep freeze, at least until after November’s election. Read more >>

Opinion: Resiliency — The Critical Next Stage Beyond Repair and Rebuilding

Jun 10, 2013   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Infrastructure, Lucy Vandenberg, New Jersey, NJ Spotlight, Opinion, PlanSmart NJ, Policy, Redevelopment, Sandy, Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Opinion: Resiliency — The Critical Next Stage Beyond Repair and Rebuilding

Spending billions to rebuild misses the crux of the issue, and only guarantees that billions more will be spent next time

Photo by Wendell A. Davis Jr./FEMA

Photo by Wendell A. Davis Jr./FEMA

Facing Our Future, a group of experts with substantial state government experience, recently released a report entitled, “Infrastructure Improvements Necessary for Economic Success.” It estimates that $70 billion in upgrades are needed to our state’s infrastructure — if you include energy, water, and transportation.

The choice is not between spending $70 billion and spending nothing. Rather, the choice is one between investing in our future to dramatically reduce the costs of tomorrow’s natural disasters or, alternatively, putting our heads in the sand by reacting to natural disasters only once they happen and spending billions of dollars to rebuild each time one comes down the pike.
The latter approach, as we have seen in the case of Sandy, results in greater loss of life, public health consequences, and severe economic losses and disruptions of residents and businesses. Read more >>

PlanSmart NJ Remembers Outstanding Board Member

Jun 10, 2013   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Board Member, PlanSmart NJ, Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on PlanSmart NJ Remembers Outstanding Board Member

Slide1It is with great sadness that PlanSmart NJ acknowledges the passing of long-time Board member Melvin R. Lehr.  For over twenty years Mel gave generously of his time and wisdom to PlanSmart NJ (formerly MSM Regional Council).  Mel combined his public and private sector experience to guide PlanSmart NJ through numerous initiatives including several transportation studies, two name changes, purchasing a building, and moving to Trenton.  In 2005 he co-chaired the Strategic Business Plan Committee that resulted in the launching of the Smart Growth Economy Project.  During his tenure he served as Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice Chairman.  Mel led with sound judgment, a steady hand, and a sense of fairness and desire to do what is right.

Obituary

Opinion: Revitalizing NJ for Its Newest Generation of Knowledge Workers

Apr 3, 2013   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Economic Development, Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program (ERG), Lucy Vandenberg, New Jersey, NJ Spotlight, Opinion, PlanSmart NJ, Policy, Redevelopment, Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Opinion: Revitalizing NJ for Its Newest Generation of Knowledge Workers

The Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 could help fund the redevelopment of the state’s urban centers and suburban office parks

Earlier this month, both Senate and Assembly committees took up the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, a mammoth piece of legislation that consolidates New Jersey’s disparate economic development incentive programs into two. Grow NJ is focused on attracting and retaining companies here in New Jersey, while the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program (ERG) creates incentives for development and redevelopment in urban and other designated areas.
The bills are moving fast and have garnered widespread support muted by some criticism.

Grow NJ provides financial incentives to companies to encourage economic growth and job creation, as well as to preserve jobs in New Jersey that are at risk of relocation. The bill links incentives to specific job creation goals based on industry type and minimum capital investment thresholds. It also provides increased tax credits to companies that locate in urban and distressed municipalities. Additional tax-credit awards are offered to companies locating in impoverished areas, building near public transit, providing jobs in New Jersey’s targeted growth industries, and adhering to green-design standards, among other categories. Read more >>

Opinion: Federal Funding Is Only One Way to Speed Recovery from Sandy

Jan 16, 2013   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Green Acres, Historic Preservation, NJ Keep It Green Coalition, NJ Spotlight, Opinion, Policy, Sandy, Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Opinion: Federal Funding Is Only One Way to Speed Recovery from Sandy

Long-term funding for Green Acres and other preservation programs can ease the impact of Sandy, future extreme storms

In last week’s State of the State address, Gov. Chris Christie called on congressional leaders to swiftly appropriate all $60 billion in federal disaster relief for New Jersey.

New Jersey residents are united in wanting to see these funds appropriated quickly.

New Jersey’s elected leaders also have a unique opportunity to mitigate the impacts of Hurricane Sandy and future storms. How? By creating a long-term source of state funding for acquiring, preserving, and protecting open space, waterways, parks, farmland, and historic sites.

Doing so will also help leverage federal dollars for flood protection.

Unfortunately, the funding stream for preservation efforts in New Jersey has run dry. The Legislature has appropriated the last of the funds from the 2009 voter-approved bond issue that provided $400 million for Blue Acres, Green Acres, Farmland Preservation, and Historic Preservation programs. Read more >>

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