Above: Gottheimer announcing his new ‘Infrastructure Investment Portal.’
TEANECK, NJ — Today, July 10, 2023, underneath the structurally deficient Route 4 Hackensack River Bridge, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) joined laborers from across New Jersey to announce that his office is creating a new online ‘Infrastructure Investment Portal’ — a real-time system to provide information on, and track, competitive Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill federal investment dollars and grant opportunities for the towns and counties in New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District.
Gottheimer noted that other states, like Michigan and Louisiana, are winning federal grants made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill because they have created easy to use websites that list in real-time all the infrastructure grants their towns are eligible for, while many towns and counties in Jersey may be unaware of the same opportunities.
The one-stop-shop webpage will educate towns, counties, and nonprofits on available grants they’re eligible for to ensure that qualifying local infrastructure projects are federally funded — helping take a burden off local budgets to save taxpayers money, creating jobs, and getting shovels in the ground faster to improve North Jersey’s infrastructure.
Gottheimer helped write, negotiate, and pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill to invest more than $12 billion into Jersey’s infrastructure — including building the Gateway Train Tunnel, repairing Jersey’s outdated roads and bridges, taking lead and forever chemicals out of drinking water, improving resiliency to floods and other climate-causing challenges, bringing electric vehicle charges and broadband to places without it, lowering emissions and pollution from public transportation, and upgrading the power infrastructure for clean energy.
“Too often, the Moocher States end up winning federal infrastructure grants simply because our towns and counties may not have known they were eligible. This new ‘Infrastructure Investment Portal’ will be a one-stop-shop of information and will help educate towns, counties, and nonprofits on available grants – and will help all of us track what we’ve applied for,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “We need to be aggressive in applying for these opportunities so that we can invest in our local infrastructure and save Jersey residents’ hard-earned dollars tax dollars. Much of this work will be led by our hardworking men and women of labor. They build our roads, tunnels, transit, and electric vehicle stations, lay new broadband fiber, and fought incredibly hard for the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.”
“I applaud Congressman Gottheimer for taking the initiative to connect potential sources of federal infrastructure aid to local communities. The need for federal support in New Jersey is certainly great and we must do more as a state to apply for and win federal dollars for local infrastructure improvements,” said Michael E. Hellstrom, Vice President and Eastern Regional Manager, Laborers’ International Union of North America.
“On behalf of all the trades here today including the Central Labor Council, we want to thank Congressman Gottheimer for all he’s doing. He’s bringing back more money for the state of New Jersey than anybody has ever done in his district before. This new website that they’re creating is going to allow municipalities, nonprofits, and counties to go after the money that he gets back from Washington that will help infrastructure projects throughout New Jersey,” said Bergen County Central Trades and Labor Council President Michael Schneider.
“The communities that are strengthened with these infrastructure bills and money that is coming in — we thank Josh Gottheimer. On behalf of all my union brothers and sisters and the laborers, I’m grateful to thank the leadership and hard work of Congressman Josh Gottheimer,” said NJ LECET Business Development Manager and Laborers Local 172 member Randy Brolo.
“Over my tenure as town manager, there is no one more instrumental in championing funds back to the state of New Jersey than Congressman Gottheimer. The residents of Teaneck are very appreciative,” said Teaneck Township Manager Dean Kazinci.
Gottheimer was joined today by Teaneck Township Manager Dean Kazinci, New Jersey State Laborers PAC (LiUNA) Treasurer/Administrator John Duthie, NJ LECET (LiUNA) Business Development Manager and Laborers Local 172 member Randy Brolo, Bergen County Central Trades and Labor Council President Michael Schneider, International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) 825 Business Representative Cesar Gamio, Park Ridge Mayor Keith Miscagnia of IBEW 164, Sheet Metal Workers Local 25 President Joe Demark, Building and General Construction Laborers (LiUNA) Local 3, Dockbuilders Local 1556, Pipefitters Local 274, Iron Workers Local 11, Roofers Local 10, Sprinkler Fitters Local 696, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 164, and Plumbers Local 24.
Below: Gottheimer announcing his new ‘Infrastructure Investment Portal.’
Below: Gottheimer showing Michigan’s federal infrastructure investment tracker.
Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
I’m incredibly honored to be here today surrounded by the hardest-working men and women of labor who helped build this state, our country, and create the most competitive workforce in the world, including Danny Gumble, John Duthie, Rando Brolo, Cesar Gamio, Michael Schneider, and Mayor Keith Miscagnia.
All of you are leaders across the Garden State — fighting for better wages, safer working conditions, health care, better job opportunities, and so much more.
Before we begin, I want to take a moment and recognize that today is Journeyman Lineworkers Recognition Day — a day to acknowledge and thank the hard-working men and women of labor who work around-the-clock to ensure our families and small businesses always have power to our homes and our economy. Last Congress, I proudly submitted a bipartisan resolution in Congress to officially recognize this important day and I’m continuing to push this Congress — just like I continue to push every Congress for jobs and investment to help keep our economy and our country competitive. The only way we’ll be able to compete and win globally in the decades to come is if we — our country and our state — have the best, most efficient, cutting-edge, competitive infrastructure and workforce in the world.
It’s no secret that over the last decades, we’ve been behind, failing to put dollars into our roads, our tunnels, our bridges, our water, electric vehicles, and broadband infrastructure. And when you don’t invest, you not only get a state like ours with the third worst roads in the country, you get crumbling, century-old bridges like the one we are under today – the Route 4 Hackensack River Bridge here in Teaneck. It was built in 1931 when Herbert Hoover was President.
The good news: just over a year and a half ago, I stood under this very bridge with many of you to celebrate the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which will not only help fix this bridge beginning in 2025, and others like it, but, over the next 10 years, it will infuse more than $12 billion into Jersey’s infrastructure — including building the Gateway Train Tunnel, repairing our outdated roads and bridges, taking lead and forever chemicals out of our drinking water, improving our resiliency to floods and other climate-causing challenges, bringing electric vehicle charges and broadband to places without it, lowering emissions and pollution from public transportation, and upgrading our power infrastructure for clean energy.
Specifically, it will provide more than $200 million in broadband infrastructure and $1.14 billion on the table for investments in Jersey’s structurally deficient bridges.
I was honored to help write, negotiate and pass the legislation, which will help employ millions of men and women of labor.
As of this month, we’ve already announced $5.6 billion dollars from this historic legislation to support more than 120 specific projects in New Jersey— all with Davis Bacon protection, including, as you heard last week, the Gateway Train Tunnel, a critical passage that carries 20 percent of our nation’s GDP.
We’re also finally taking steps to move forward with the long-awaited expansion of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail into Bergen County and the West Side of Jersey City. And, we’ve already secured investments to upgrade railroad crossings in Hackensack and Garfield City, the Jones Road Bridge in Englewood, upgrades to the Teterboro Airport, and the culvert construction in Wyckoff. And we have fought for critical funding that will also go toward fixing our bridges, like here at the Hackensack River Bridge.
There are two ways these federal infrastructure dollars that we fought in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will get clawed back to Jersey, and away from the Moocher States. One is by formula dollars through — these investments are decided based on the size and population of an individual state, along with other factors. The other method is through competitive grants — this includes states against other states, counties against other counties, and cities and towns against others. There are billions of dollars to compete for on the table — and I want them coming here to Jersey. Our state can and has been applying for a bunch of them, which is great. Others require our towns and counties to apply directly to the federal government. The key is that all of Jersey’s towns easily know what’s available, what they qualify for, and where to apply. As my dad has always said to me, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. What’s worse is that the Moochers like Mississippi and Alabama will get them. We can’t afford to lose to the Moochers.
That’s why we are here today —to announce that my office is creating a new online, real-time, system to provide information on, and track, these new, competitive, Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill federal investment dollars and grant opportunities for the towns and counties in my District. This will help streamline the process for our North Jersey towns and counties to know about and apply for these newly available federal infrastructure grants and project dollars.
This new “Infrastructure Investment Portal” will be a one-stop-shop of information and will help educate towns, counties, and nonprofits on available grants – and will help all of us track what we’ve applied for. This will help ensure that qualifying local infrastructure projects are federally funded, freeing local tax dollars from taking on the burden.
This is critical to getting shovels in the ground faster, getting more investments out the door to our communities. By clawing back these federal investments to Jersey, we will be able to vastly improve our infrastructure — from our roads to bridges to water to broadband — and take a financial burden off local budgets to save taxpayers’ money.
Having this information in one location — rather than spread across dozens of hard-to-find websites — will help simplify the process of learning about grant opportunities and will give applicants easy access to descriptions to better understand eligibility requirements.
There will also be resources on the page to guide towns and residents to view grants awarded to communities across Jersey — so there will be full transparency. Transparency is key to ensuring local governments know about the great opportunities that exist.
After they apply, as always, I’ll do everything in my power to advocate for and help our communities win — calls to the agencies, letters of support, you name it. In fact, when it comes to clawing federal grant dollars — your tax dollars — back from Washington to Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District, we’re up 357 percent. That’s $750 dollars for each household in the Fifth District in the last year alone — away from the Moocher States to here.
We all need to work together, at all levels of government, to ensure we’re getting our strongest return on investment. I’ve asked Jackson Olesky on my team to oversee this effort — to serve as a mini Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Czar for North Jersey — to help track these dollars. My office — and my Director of Return on Investment, Shay, who is here — also works with folks every day, scouring grant opportunities for our communities, businesses, and nonprofits, and to help claw back as much as possible here and away from the Moocher States.
The Governor and State have also done an incredible job tracking the competitive grants that the state has been applying for and I hope that others across Jersey will take steps like we’re doing here to publicly track grant opportunities for towns and counties.
Too often, the Moocher States end up winning federal infrastructure grants simply because our towns and counties may not have known they were eligible.
Just last week, I called around to some of our towns here in the Fifth District about two grants created through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill — the Clean School Bus grant program and the Safe Streets and Roads for All Program. The first to help millions of children and thousands of bus drivers who breathe polluted air on their rides to and from school. And the second to get our roads paved — something I know all of us here in Jersey want. Many of the towns I spoke with had no idea they were eligible or that these grants even existed.
Other states are beating us to the punch because they have created websites that list in real-time all of the infrastructure grants their towns are eligible for. For example, Michigan has a site that lists all competitive grant opportunities in one easy to view location. They have even posted an “Infrastructure Investment Tracker” showing the values of grants awarded and the state’s overall progress on an interactive map. Here’s a screen shot of their site. That’s similar to what our tracker will look like when it’s done.
Louisiana has created a similar interactive dashboard that tracks the competitive awards.
These are successful Moocher trackers that help them win grants — investments I believe should be coming back to Jersey.
Our local governments here in North Jersey must be made aware of every grant opportunity, and compete for the ones that make sense.
In addition to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill passed last summer, we also passed the Inflation Reduction Act which is making historic investments into clean energy and building infrastructure upgrades. Most importantly, it includes strong incentives for facility owners to use union labor when making these critical upgrades to our infrastructure.
In addition to the upfront savings created by the tax credits, facility owners will reap even more rewards on the back end through lower utility bills and operating costs resulting from the energy efficient upgrades.
But, we need to be aggressive in applying for these opportunities so that we can invest in our local infrastructure and save Jersey residents’ hard-earned dollars tax dollars.
So, to everyone in my District, all the towns and counties, as always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my team and me so we can help you claw back federal infrastructure dollars back to North Jersey and get these projects moving.
Much of this work will be led by our hardworking men and women of labor. They build our roads, tunnels, transit, and electric vehicle stations, lay new broadband fiber, and fought incredibly hard for the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.
Once again, thank you to all the men and women of labor for joining me today and thank you for all the work you do to give workers a voice in their workplace. I’m very proud to stand with everyone here today to make Jersey an even greater place to live, work, and raise a family. I know by working together, here in the greatest country in the world, and investing in our communities and our future, for New Jersey and for our nation, our best days will always be ahead of us.
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