Earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-5th District, announced his office was creating an online Infrastructure Investment Portal to provide real-time information on federal investment dollars and grant opportunities via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The congressman made the announcement July 10 under the structurally deficient Route 4 Hackensack River Bridge, where he was joined by laborers from across the Garden State. According to Gottheimer, the one-stop-shop webpage will educate towns, counties and nonprofits on available grants they are eligible for to ensure that qualifying local infrastructure projects are federally funded.
In launching this system for towns and counties in New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District, which includes 65 municipalities located in parts of Bergen, Passaic and Sussex counties, Gottheimer pointed to other states, such as Michigan and Louisiana, which he says are winning many bids because they have created easy-to-use websites, while Jersey towns and counties may be unaware of similar opportunities.
“Too often, the Moocher States end up winning federal infrastructure grants simply because our towns and counties may not have known they were eligible,” said Gottheimer. “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 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.”
Labor leaders who joined Gottheimer applauded his plan to create this portal.
“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 Hellstrom, vice president and eastern regional manager, Laborers’ International Union of North America.
“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 Michael Schneider, Bergen County central trades and labor council president.
“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,” Gottheimer added. “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.”