Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise gave his 2016 State of the County Address in the new Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders chambers, stressing economic growth in Journal Square – also taking a shot at Gov. Chris Christie (R) for not acknowledging the Transportation Trust Fund crisis.
DeGise spoke on the initiatives he hopes to accomplish during his next four years as County Executive, such as the growth of a new Journal Square ,which he believes will attract new investments and growth to the city.
With that said, he is still committed to preserving Journal Square’s historic qualities.
â€œOur county campus here in Journal Square is going to be part of a very different neighborhood soon. The soaring towers rising around us will surely attract new investment, new growth and much change,â€ he said.
â€œBut what will not change is our historic commitment to the Journal Square neighborhood.â€
Also adding to the growth of the city, DeGise noted that mass transit is a key force in economic development.
According to DeGise, an excellent example of mass transit growth would be the Route 440 extension in Jersey City.
â€œOne excellent example of that kind of mass transit just waiting to be released is the proposed extension of the Light Rail over Rt. 440 in Jersey City. This project is key to fully unlocking the growth potential of a huge section of the West Side,â€ the county executive explained.
â€œThe West Side will offer empty nesters the chance to age in place after theyâ€™ve sold their homes. And it will offer a new, lower-cost option for younger buyers and renters whoâ€™ve been priced out of Hoboken and Downtown Jersey City.â€
Noting the cost of the 440 extension DeGise stated, â€œPlanners with NJ Transit estimate the cost at about $220 million. Key funding components might include federal funds for mass transit-oriented development. But those funds are dependent upon a local match.â€
â€œMass transit, and the larger need for infrastructure improvement is suffering because Gov. Christie refuses to acknowledge that there is a crisis regarding the stateâ€™s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).â€
DeGise also recently touched at the subject during the Hudson County Alliance for Action breakfast in Bayonne last month, where he called on raising the gas tax to replenish the TTF.
A spokesman for Christie’s Office did not immediately return an email this morning to respond to DeGise’s criticism.
DeGise ended his address to the freeholders by stating â€œas we commit to new programs and new policies, let us also commit to pay for all we propose.â€
Those in attendance included Freeholders Tilo Rivas (D-6), Anthony Vainieri (D-8), William Oâ€™Dea (D-2), Kenneth Kopacz (D-1), Gerard Balmir, Jr (D-3), Anthony Romano (D-5), Albert Cifelli (D-9), E. Junior Maldonado (D-4), Caridad Rodriguez (D-7), Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drasheff and Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos.
The taxpayers of Hoboken continue to pay a disproportionally high percentage of Hudson County budget but gets little in return. That needs to change.