RELEASE: Gottheimer Announces New $500,000 Federal Investment Clawed Back to Sussex County to Improve Public Transportation for Seniors, Veterans, & Local Residents

Sep 27, 2022
Press

New Federal Investment Clawed Back to Sussex County for Five New Buses

Builds on Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill to Improve Local Public Transit, Roads, Bridges

Continues Fight to Protect North Jersey’s Veterans & Seniors

Above: Gottheimer in Newton, Sussex County today.

SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ — Today, September 27, 2022, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) announced a new $500,000 federal investment clawed back from Washington to Sussex County for new buses for public transportation for seniors, veterans, disabled residents, residents looking for work, or residents trying to get to and from jobs, post-secondary education, or career and technical training.

The new $500,000 federal investment will go toward five new extended cutaway buses, each of which includes space for sixteen passengers plus two wheelchairs — greatly improving and updating Sussex County’s fleet and public transportation for vulnerable populations all across Sussex.

Sussex County’s Office of Transit provides more than 65,000 rides each year to Sussex residents through both public transportation and paratransit services. These services include everything from assisted transportation and employment transportation, to transportation for our disabled residents, brave veterans, and senior citizens. Sussex County currently has a fleet of 25 buses. Unfortunately, some of the fleet’s oldest buses have more than 250,000 miles on them.

“There is nothing more important in this job than my responsibility to have the backs of those who have served our great country and our seniors who have made invaluable contributions to our community. Please know this: after sacrificing so much and after working your whole lives to support your families and communities, you should not struggle to access the care and resources you’ve earned. These are not Democratic or Republican issues — they are good for America issues,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “Unfortunately, here in Sussex County, many residents — including seniors, veterans, disabled residents, and those looking for work — have trouble getting to and from job opportunities, grocery and retail stores, doctors’ appointments, and more.” 

Gottheimer continued, “After working closely with Sussex County and the Commissioners, I formally requested that the County’s Office of Transit receive a direct federal investment to help solve this problem. Today, I am proud to announce that we’ve now successfully clawed back a new $500,000 federal investment to Sussex County for their Elderly, Veteran, and Employment Services Transportation Services — a huge win for seniors, veterans, and residents all across Sussex County.”

Gottheimer was joined on Newton Green today by Newton Councilman Matthew Dickson, Sussex County Administrator Ron Tappan, local residents, and law enforcement.

Gottheimer is helping lower taxes for North Jersey families by clawing back our federal tax dollars to Jersey from Washington to make life more affordable and safer, and to improve our communities. Gottheimer recently announced that New Jersey’s Fifth District has clawed 357% more federal tax dollars back from Washington and the Moocher States since he took office. For 2021 alone, the federal tax dollars clawed back amount to an average savings of more than $750 for each household in the Fifth District. Through Gottheimer’s work with mayors, councils, first responders, and nonprofits, the Fifth District has realized a far better Return on Investment on the tax dollars North Jersey residents send to Washington every year.

Video of today’s announcement can be found here.

Below: Gottheimer with local officials in Sussex County today.

A group of people posing for a photo

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Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below.

I’m here today in Newton with local leaders to announce new federal investment we’ve clawed back from Washington to Sussex County to help improve public transportation and paratransit services across the County, particularly for our senior citizens and veterans. 

This new investment builds on my broader efforts, working closely with our mayors, councils, first responders, and nonprofits, to realize a far better Return on Investment on the tax dollars North Jersey residents send to Washington every year. 

It also builds on our success working closely with both Democrats and Republicans, including the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, to help shape and pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. 

We’re now up 357 percent since I came to office in the federal tax dollars that we’ve clawed back to Northern Jersey – including $750 per family last year alone. That puts less pressure on our counties and towns, and helps lower our property taxes for our families.

Today’s announcement also adds to our ongoing work to support North Jersey’s seniors and veterans, and to help them access critical resources, Social Security and VA benefits, even help with a mental health issue or help for a veteran to get a job when they come back home.

There is nothing more important in this job than my responsibility to have the backs of those who have served our great country and our seniors who have made invaluable contributions to our community.

Please know this: after sacrificing so much and after working your whole lives to support your families and communities, you should not struggle to access the care and resources you’ve earned.

These are not Democratic or Republican issues — they are good for America issues. 

Unfortunately, here in Sussex County, many residents — including seniors, veterans, disabled residents, and those looking for work — have trouble getting to and from job opportunities, grocery and retail stores, doctors’ appointments, and more. 

Many residents rely on the County’s Office of Transit to help them get around. In fact, the Transit Office provides more than 65,000 rides each year to Sussex residents through both public transportation and paratransit services. These services include everything from assisted transportation and employment transportation, to transportation for our disabled residents, brave veterans, and senior citizens.

Sussex County currently has a fleet of 25 buses to make all this possible. Unfortunately, some of the fleet’s oldest buses have more than 250,000 miles on them. 

That means the buses might break down more easily and more frequently, and they might be harder to repair. On top of this, there are little or no public transportation options outside of what the County’s Office of Transit provides. Today, we’re here to ensure the County has the support they need to serve our residents in need.

After working closely with Sussex County and the Commissioners, I formally requested that the County’s Office of Transit receive a direct federal investment to help solve this problem. With that, I am proud to announce that we’ve now successfully clawed back a new $500,000 federal investment to Sussex County for their Elderly, Veteran, and Employment Services Transportation Services — a huge win for seniors, veterans, and residents all across Sussex County.

This new $500,000 investment we’ve clawed back directly to Sussex County will go toward five new extended cutaway buses, each of which includes space for sixteen passengers plus two wheelchairs — greatly improving and updating Sussex County’s fleet, particularly public transportation for vulnerable populations all across Sussex.

These new buses — which will all be acquired through this new federal investment clawed directly back to Sussex County — will help seniors and veterans with shopping and vital errands to the Newton and Franklin Wal-Marts, Shop Rites, and Weis, as well as to the Sussex A&P, Vernon A&P, and Wantage Plaza. Not only that, but we’ll be able to help our seniors with Assisted Transportation — for those who need a higher level of assistance — particularly for transportation to medical appointments. 

Additionally, we’ll be helping create new opportunities for Sussex residents to secure and maintain employment within the County, by facilitating their ability to get to and from their jobs, career training, and post-secondary education.

And specifically for our veterans, these buses will be utilized to provide transportation service for medical appointments to out-of-county VA facilities like East Orange, Morristown, and Lyons, and Castle Point in New York, as well as to State VSO offices. 

And thankfully, many of our veterans now don’t need to drive as far to access care, since we successfully opened the VA Sussex Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) here in Newton — including in-person mental health care services I fought for — and since we cut through red tape for veterans to receive referrals for health care services at the Newton ImageCare Center.

Sussex County and so many of our local municipalities rely on federal investments to support our families and local services. That’s why, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been laser focused on doing everything we can to claw our federal tax dollars back from Washington to Sussex County and my entire District. And, we are up 357 percent since I was elected. 

Also, when the pandemic was at its worst, I worked side by side with mayors, first responders, and local officials across Sussex County to ensure that federal dollars were clawed back through the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan. Every single County government, town, and borough in the Fifth District, including Sussex County, received COVID-19 funding for direct costs to the towns and counties and to families, small businesses, nonprofits, first responders, and hospitals. 

I’m proud that with a great deal of cooperation — from across the aisle and from every corner of this great State — we were all able to ensure our communities, families, businesses, first responders and frontline health care workers had the continued support they needed. 

Through the CARES Act, we clawed back $1.8 million to Sussex County to help reimburse the costs the county took on directly during the pandemic, for testing, PPE, and additional resources for our brave first responders and frontline public service workforce.

My office did an analysis of available data, and we learned that New Jersey’s Fifth District alone had received $3 billion in total — including an average $2,900 for every Sussex County resident. 

That included the small business PPP loans to each individual county, the direct Economic Impact Payments to residents in each individual county, the federal unemployment support, for those out of work, and the hospitals, non-profits, education, and other direct grants to each individual county.

Then, through the American Rescue Plan, we clawed back $27.25 million directly to the Sussex County government, and all the Sussex town governments that make up the Fifth District, in total, received $9.26 million. Sussex County’s government and all of the County’s towns received federal assistance that could be used for water and sewer infrastructure, broadband connectivity, and other infrastructure projects and COVID-related expenditures. 

Last point: Today’s $500,000 federal investment announcement for five new buses to improve Sussex County’s public transportation builds on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill which I helped shape, pass, and get signed into law. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will help us fix our crumbling roads, bridges, ports, airports, rails, and NJ Transit, help build the new Gateway Train Tunnel, restore the Lackawanna Cut-off rail service, clean our children’s drinking water, expand broadband access to the unconnected, and improve public transit. 

This is the greatest infrastructure investment in a century, and a major victory for pragmatic problem solving, with both Democrats and Republicans coming together, working with the President, to get this done.

The bottom line: it’s absolutely vital that we continue clawing more of our tax dollars back to Jersey, instead of it all going to the Moocher States, so we can help our local communities, our seniors who’ve given us so much, our brave veterans who’ve protected our freedoms, and residents looking to provide for their families.

Improving our public transit isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue — it’s a what’s good for Jersey families issue. 

With today’s announcement, we’re helping ensure that, here in the greatest country in the world, our best days will always be ahead of us, and our seniors and veterans can get to where they need to go.

Thank you. God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

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