TRENTON – The Senate Environment and Energy Committee approved legislation that would direct the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to prioritize funding for environmental infrastructure projects for applicants with an established program to employ, at project or related facilities, local residents or residents of nearby urban aid qualifying municipalities.
Under the bill, sponsored by Senator Nellie Pou, additional priority points would be assigned to project applicants with established programs to employ, where feasible, persons that reside in the municipality in which the project is located, in the service area for the project, or in surrounding municipalities that meet the criteria for State aid under current law.
“Many water treatment and water quality infrastructure reinvestment projects are undertaken in our urban centers, in areas where that infrastructure has been neglected or failed to be properly maintained for decades. Local residents have a stake in these projects, and must be given opportunity to participate in the rehabilitation,” said Senator Pou (D-Bergen / Passaic).
The bill, S-1679, builds on current law providing that the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank require a local government unit which receives a loan or guarantee for a project – including drinking water and clean water projects — to establish an affirmative action program for the hiring of minority workers for construction jobs and to establish a program to provide opportunities for socially and economically disadvantaged contractors and vendors to supply materials and services for the contract.
The bill cleared the Senate by a vote of 4-0.