Trenton – Today the Senate Environment and Energy Committee advanced two bills sponsored by Senator Linda Greenstein that would identify and implement improvements to water infrastructure systems throughout the state.
“These bills represent a meaningful investment in New Jersey’s water infrastructure,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Access to clean drinking water is reliant upon upgrading our State’s aging water infrastructure systems and developing solutions, based on formal research and data, that are well-informed.”
The first bill, S-294, would provide for the establishment of the New Jersey Water Infrastructure Center within a public or private institution of higher education that would be designated by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Under the bill, the purpose of the center would be to identify and promote policy and management methods to facilitate the transformation of the State’s water infrastructure systems. Additionally, the center would also be responsible for collecting and bringing together cross-disciplinary data, applied research, and stakeholders to accelerate the development and implementation of effective and innovative water infrastructure policies.
The second bill, S-1229, would direct the DEP to prepare a State Water Infrastructure Investment Plan to be updated every five years.
Under the bill, the plan would include estimates for annual and long-term capital investment needed for all water infrastructure in the State, with the estimates including the current year, the next five years and the previous five years. Additionally, the plan would identify annual and long-term revenue sources, create a strategy to coordinate the use of federal, State and local funding resources, goals for various capital improvements and recommendations for new or revised programs and ways to accelerate the review, approval, and replacement of prioritized water systems.
“Both of these bills are critical first steps in the process to establish safer water infrastructure systems throughout the State,” said Senator Greenstein. “Not only will we be better informed of the extent of the issues existing within these systems, but we will be able to identify and execute solutions to rectify the problems.”
The bills were both released from committee by a vote of 5-0.