August 10, 2022
Dear Friends,
Infrastructure funding is in the news - and that’s a good thing. We've seen a string of encouraging infrastructure announcements ranging from billions in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, to allocations in this year’s state budget, to the potential federal climate change bill making its way to the President’s desk. These funds are critical for tackling some of our state’s biggest challenges like clean water, flooding, and climate change. This is an encouraging trend that will mean big, positive changes across New Jersey.

In this year’s state budget process, over $300 million was allocated for water infrastructure. This significant funding was the topic of discussion at last month’s Jersey Water Works annual meeting, a statewide collaborative dedicated to improving communities by improving and upgrading water infrastructure. The meeting also provided an opportunity to convene Lead-Free NJ community leaders and Sewage-Free Streets and Rivers members to discuss their respective campaigns, share success, and plan next steps. Please read up on the membership meeting on our blog. At New Jersey Future, we are committed to tackling big issues through inclusive and powerful collaborations.

Here in Trenton, there has been a renewed interest in designating Route 29 as a boulevard and reconnecting our capital city to the Delaware River waterfront. New funding has been made available by the federal government to assist in planning for redesignation and development of urban highways to reconnect cities, and to conduct urban highway removal. We hope that the Murphy Administration and the New Jersey Department of Transportation will recognize the value of this transformational project and set it on a path forward.

Budgets and funding priorities are important policy statements. When our shared priorities are funded, that means we are making steady progress to foster a more inclusive, affordable, and healthy New Jersey.

Peter Kasabach
Executive Director
With the youngest members of the demographically large Millennial generation (roughly, those born between 1981 and 1996) aging into young adulthood, the number of people between the ages of 25 and 44 increased nationwide by 3.5% between 2015 and 2019. In New Jersey, however, the population in this age range declined by 1.2% over the same time period, with high housing costs appearing as a major motivating factor.
Nationally, the residential household costs of drinking water and sewer utility services have been increasing faster than the consumer price index (inflation) and faster than median household incomes since the 1980s. What was once a minor cost has become a significant burden for many households. An important point is that water and sewer utility costs are only one part of the overall cost of living in New Jersey. Ideally, public policy would address affordability broadly, as a household that can’t afford water and sewer likely can’t afford other costs as well. Read More.
New Jersey Future’s internship program is developing the next generation of thinkers in smart growth. We offer graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to assist us with various projects, including research, writing, communications, and administration. We appreciate their wide-ranging contributions! See a list of our previous interns and learn how to apply. Here is what this summer’s interns worked on, in their own words. Read More.
On July 13, New Jersey Future had the pleasure of attending the Jersey Water Works (JWW) annual membership meeting in person for the first time since 2019. Over 100 water advocates convened at Kean University for a working lunch, three mini keynotes, and breakout sessions with JWW committees. A highlight of the meeting was a question and answer session with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. The event was a great opportunity for networking, reconnecting with old friends and colleagues, and learning more about the key issues affecting New Jersey’s water quality.
Legislative Updates
  • N.J.A.C. 5:28A: Lead-based paint inspections in rental dwelling units are to be required within two years of the effective date of the law, July 22, 2022, or upon tenant turnover, whichever is earlier as a part of this proposed new chapter to P.L. 2021, c. 182. Public comment period ends September 16, 2022.
Coming Up
  • September 28: The Lead-Free NJ Membership Meeting will take place virtually on Zoom from 5:30–7:30 p.m. Register in advance.
Smart Growth for Everyone
Smart Growth is equitable growth. It is also restorative, as smart growth and redevelopment can help correct systemic racial and economic disparities. As New Jersey Future drives land use decision-making toward more equitable outcomes, we will be sharing useful resources and lessons in this monthly spotlight. Please give us your feedback and share with us any particularly insightful articles, talks, events, or videos that you come across.

At the 2022 NJ Planning and Redevelopment Conference (PRC) held by New Jersey Future and the NJ Chapter of the American Planning Association, a panel titled “Beyond Getting from A to B: Ensuring Safer and Fairer Ways to Move Around" highlighted the value in emphasizing the safety and accessibility of public transit for diverse populations.

In striving to promote equitable and sustainable transportation options, this Virginia Mercury article argues that representation of diverse ridership within governing boards offers an opportunity to ensure accessibility for those who depend on public transit the most, especially as transportation authorities seek to restore pre-pandemic levels of ridership. Studies show that women and people of color disproportionately depend on public transit options, yet are underrepresented on public transit governing boards, so that their needs and priorities are considered less. Clearly, supporting community-engaged governance of public transit offers an opportunity to address the challenges of safety and accessibility discussed at the PRC.
Come Work with Us
  • Advocacy Campaign Manager: New Jersey Future’s Advocacy Campaign Manager will provide strategic direction on campaign oriented programs, oversee the creation and management of select advocacy campaigns and staff, and identify strategic programmatic and grant opportunities.

  • Program Associate: The program associate will provide administrative and communications support to several of the organization’s programs and assist with various organizational projects and tasks dedicated to improving communities across the state.

  • Community Planner/Urban Planner: New Jersey Future is seeking a highly organized, motivated individual to join our planning team as we expand our strategic assistance program to foster vibrant downtowns and livable communities for everyone.

  • Community Organizer: The community organizer works to ensure that New Jersey Future’s campaigns are centered around the needs and perspectives of directly-affected communities.
New Jersey Future in the News
Featured Resources

New Jersey Future has prepared Creating Great Places To Age: A Community Guide to Implementing Aging-Friendly Land Use Decisions to provide communities with a step-by-step process to make designing for the needs of older residents easier.

A new report issued by Jersey Water Works provides a blueprint for how to improve water testing, child care staff training, remediation, and outreach to parents, as well as a rationale for state assistance. 

We are proud to partner with New Jersey's leading environmental and social justice organizations to promote this Green in '21 policy guide.

The New Jersey Stormwater Utility Resource Center is a one-stop shop housing technical, legal, and financial information, case studies, and helpful guidance on stormwater solutions, community process, and public engagement.

The Developers Green Infrastructure Guide 2.0 breaks down New Jersey’s Stormwater Rule amendments and helps developers and decision-makers more clearly understand green infrastructure options and advantages, compare alternatives, and evaluate costs and benefits.
Founded in 1987, New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes sensible and equitable growth, redevelopment, and infrastructure investments to foster healthy, strong, resilient communities; protect natural lands and waterways; increase transportation choices beyond cars; provide access to safe, affordable, and aging-friendly neighborhoods; and fuel a strong economy for everyone. New Jersey Future does this through original research, innovative policy development, coalition-building, advocacy, and hands-on strategic assistance. Embracing differences and advancing fairness is central to New Jersey Future’s mission and operations. New Jersey Future is firmly committed to pursuing greater justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion through its programs, internal operations, and external communications.