FTA’s Move to Rescind Funding Policy Could Benefit Gateway Projects

Plus: Vaccination update and additional PPE discounts for small businesses

Yesterday, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) reversed a Trump administration policy that didn’t allow states or local entities to use federal loans as part of their funding match to get federal grants. Those opposed to the Trump policy say that it stalled progress on projects such the construction of new Hudson River tunnels.

Under the Trump administration guidance, first announced in June 2018, federal loans taken out by local project partners no longer counted as part of the local share for Capital Investment Grant (CIG) projects. According to Gov. Phil Murphy, this made it harder for states to finance their portions of transit infrastructure improvements, such as the Hudson Tunnel Project.

“Yesterday’s action will provide flexibility for the financing of the Gateway Program and other Northeast Corridor projects including for the construction of two new tunnels under the Hudson River,” Murphy said. “I spoke with [Transportation] Secretary Pete Buttigieg recently and raised my concerns on this funding issue with him directly, and I am pleased to see this action taken.”

Vaccination Update 

Additionally, at today’s COVID-19 briefing, Murphy said that there has now been 1,470,941 vaccine doses administered so far in New Jersey. Of that figure, a total of 1,060,000 have received their first dose, and more than 412,000 have received their second dose.

“Each day these numbers move upwards by several tens of thousands. It is consistent progress,” Murphy said.

He added that every New Jerseyan that wants to be vaccinated will eventually be able to be vaccinated, though he conceded that more work still needs to be done.

“With only two approved vaccines on an emergency-use basis at our disposal, we all need to continue to be patient, as doses continue to roll out. We will get there,” Murphy said.

In terms of eligibility, Murphy reiterated the fact that those who are under 65 years old and have chronic health conditions are currently eligible to get a vaccine.  

“Whether you are an educator, transit worker, longshoreman, or retail worker, regardless of who you are, if you have a chronic condition you are eligible right now,” he said. 

Additional PPE Discounts 

Murphy also announced today that the application window for small businesses to apply for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program is now open. 

Businesses with up to 100 employees are eligible. 

“Participating businesses can save up to 70% on purchases of PPE for their employees and customers from participating vendors,” Murphy said.

Roughly 9,000 small businesses collectively saved more than $7.6 million during the grant’s initial run. Those that participated in the prior PPE program are automatically eligible for this round of savings. 

Business owners that do need to apply can do so at covid19.nj.gov/ppeaccess  

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

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