WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) joined a majority in the House of Representatives and backed a plan to reinvest in the American economy, create new jobs and provides critical support for small business, public safety, health, and transportation projects throughout Passaic and Essex Counties. The Omnibus Appropriations bill, which includes funding for the federal government and key projects in the 8th Congressional District, was approved by a vote of 221-202.
The Omnibus bill includes funding for small business projects seen as priorities for job creation. Pascrell sponsored funding for small business projects in both Essex and Passaic County, the latter of which will receive small business appropriations funding for the first time.
“I am very excited by the federal government’s investment in our small businesses in Passaic and Essex counties to help create job opportunities,” said Pascrell, who supported the legislation as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. “These allocations prove that Congress’ economic priority is to support Main Street as well as Wall Street.”
Transportation priorities were well funded through the Omnibus Appropriations bill which included $200 million in funding for construction of a 9.2-mile commuter rail extension and tunnel from Secaucus, NJ to Midtown Manhattan, popularly known as the ARC Tunnel. The project, which was supported by President Obama, will aid commuters in both Essex and Passaic County and is expected to create 6,000 new construction and engineering jobs leading to 44,000 more jobs expected to be created after the tunnel is put in to service.
“I am very proud of the funds we have secured for transportation priorities in this Omnibus, these projects are not only needed to enhance our quality of life, but we know that they will create new jobs. My principle mission in Congress right now is job creation and I will look for every avenue to bring these opportunities to the 8th district,” stated Pascrell.
The Omnibus bill also includes funding for critical projects to help aid hospitals and educational institutions at a time when both are being stretched by the downturn in the economy. In the 8th district this included nearly a million dollars to renovate St. Mary's Women's and Children's Center in Passaic, which will also create jobs in construction. The Boards of Education in Bloomfield and Nutley will also receive much-needed funding to institute a shared services agreement for their Alternative School Project.
“I am very pleased with the resources coming from the federal government to Eva’s Kitchen to feed the hungry, St. Mary’s Hospital to improve the care of newborns and their mothers, as well as other projects and facilities throughout the Eighth Congressional District.”
The items in the Omnibus Appropriations legislation include:
Mass Transit Tunnel under Hudson River construction, $200,000,000
U.S. DOT funding will advance the planned 9.2-mile commuter rail extension and tunnel from Northern New Jersey to midtown Manhattan increasing capacity for commuters, expanding connectivity of the system, and reducing delays.
St. Mary’s Hospital construction, Passaic City, $950,000
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funding will allow renovation at St. Mary's Women's and Children's Center to enhance the hospital's obstetrical care. The hospital serves a disproportionate number of Medicare and indigent expectant mothers. This project seeks to improve the healing environment for these patients. The award is more than double the originally requested amount of $400,000.
Passaic-Bergen Intermodal Facilities construction, $800,000
U.S. DOT funding will allow New Jersey Transit to expand public transit service in Passaic County.
Eva’s Village construction, Paterson, $779,200
HUD funding will allow Eva’s Village to renovate their facilities in Paterson
Passaic County Department of Economic Development, $125,000
Small Business Administration funding will aid the department in providing direct technical support and assistance to small businesses seeking to expand or relocate to Passaic County. The services and seminars available to the small business community include real estate identification, assistance in securing loans and lines of credit, information on energy incentives, and assistance with local, county, state, and federal regulatory agencies.
Essex County Resource Center for Small Businesses, $205,000
Small Business Administration funding will create a Resource Center for Small, Women and Minority Owned Businesses in Essex County and 11 adjacent counties. The Resource Center will provide computer access for public and private sector certification, registration as a SWMBE, registration to do business in Essex County and other services. The Center will also provide books, CD’s, and software for business development and will offer 6 seminars yearly with volunteers from SCORE, representatives of the County Economic Development Corp. and other professionals who will address all the essentials of growing a business.
South Orange Greenway Bike/Pedestrian Path Construction, $400,000
U.S. DOT funding will help South Orange create a nonmotorized bike/pedestrian trail along the Rahway River to connect the central business district with downtown amenities, public buildings, neighborhoods, parks and recreation.
Pompton Lakes Police and Emergency Services, $240,000
U.S. Department of Justice funding will allow the Borough of Pompton Lakes to purchase an upgraded state-of-the-art, digital public safety radio system for its police department and emergency services. This digital radio system will serve the critical communications needs of the police, and emergency services for many years to come and, with the installation of a module, will be fully interoperable with the new State of New Jersey communication system currently being developed.
New Jersey Department of Children and Families, $100,000
Funding for Child Forensic Interviewers for state Child Advocacy Centers. The project funds will be utilized to staff each of New Jersey’s Child Advocacy Centers (CAC) with at least one trained child forensic interviewer. Child Advocacy Centers stress coordination of investigation and intervention services by bringing together professionals and agencies as a multidisciplinary team to create a child-focused approach to child abuse cases. Forensic Interviewers are part of the multidisciplinary team, which includes: caseworkers from the State’s child welfare system, the Department of Children and Families’ Division of Youth and Family Services; physicians and mental health clinicians; law enforcement; and investigators from county prosecutors’ offices. The 8th district includes a CAC, which is located in the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.
New Jersey Institute of Technology, $1,000,000
Will continue pursuit of Grip Recognition on Guns for Child-Safe Operation. As a result of a five-year long intensive program NJIT has developed a unique user authentication technology, based on dynamic grip recognition and other biometrics.
PAX/Real Solutions to Gun Violence, $240,000
Will allow access expansion for the SPEAK UP Hotline and Awareness Campaign. SPEAK UP features the nation's first-ever national hotline (1-866-SPEAK-UP) for students to anonymously report weapon-related threats in their schools and communities. With increased funding to improve hotline technology, establish a system for online reporting, develop a school assembly outreach curriculum, and launch of a text messaging reporting system, PAX will be able to touch more students than can currently be reached with their localized in-school curriculum for middle and high school students and mass media campaigns.
D.A.R.E. New Jersey, Inc., $350,000
D.A.R.E. New Jersey is integrating a new Middle School curriculum statewide to all communities. This new curriculum is called “Keepin’ It Real” a model substance abuse prevention education program on the SAMSHA National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). The program is a 10-week, 10 lesson program that is offered in 40-45 minute segments. Federal Support would be used to retrain Certified Officers and train new D.A.R.E. Officers in this new program. Federal funds would also be used to conduct an in depth study of this new curriculum in the New Jersey Schools. With federal assistance, we can roll this program out statewide and ensure credibility with a rigorous evaluation.
Bloomfield Board of Education, $300,000
U.S. Department of Education dollars will allow the Boards of Education in both Bloomfield and Nutley, though officially the funding will go through Bloomfield, to begin the Bloomfield/Nutley Alternative School Project. The project is to procure and provide administration, personnel, professionals, curriculum, life skills training, equipment, and supplies for a shared services agreement between the Bloomfield, NJ and Nutley, NJ Boards of Education to establish an Alternative Learning School to serve both municipalities' classified and non-classified students who are in need of an unconventional educational environment.
United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ, $100,000
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services dollars will expand and evaluate the Lifelong Involvement for Vital Elders (LIVE) independent aging demonstration. The LIVE program helps communities become more "elder friendly," recognizes older adults as valued members of the community, and supports aging in place and quality of life.
UJA Federation of Northern NJ, $200,000
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services resources will allow the federation to implement and evaluate an Aging-In-Place Demonstration Project that will provide supportive services to older adults living in the community, including case management, congregational nursing, health assessments, home visits, social, education, and recreational programs, home health, adult daycare, and home modifications.