What Can NJ Property Owners Expect from President Biden’s $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill?
On November 15, 2021, President Joe Biden signed a $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill (the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act”) that provides New Jersey with an estimated $12.3 billion in funding over the next five years to revitalize the state’s dilapidated roads, railways, bridges, and tunnels. While widespread infrastructure repair is long overdue in New Jersey, the massive increase in federal funding also opens the door to a surge of potential governmental takings in order to accomplish the bill’s objective.
Following the infrastructure bill’s approval by President Biden, Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker released a joint statement that summarized the law as follows:
“The legislation will provide an estimated $12.31 billion in guaranteed transportation and transit funding formula dollars for New Jersey over the next five years — the largest ever investment in the state’s transportation infrastructure. The state will also receive a minimum $100 million to expand broadband internet access. State formula funding for water and sewer infrastructure has yet to be calculated, and New Jersey can still compete for additional federal funding through other discretionary sources.”
Moreover, here is a rough estimate of how the federal funds will be distributed to New Jersey projects:
- Highways/Roads: $6.88 billion
- Bridges: $1.14 billion
- Electric Vehicles: $104 million
- Ferry Service: $24 million
- Total: $4.15 billion
- FY21: $626,068,511
- FY22: $792,674,692
- FY23: $809,730,546
- FY24: $831,558,775
- FY25: $849,219,308
- FY26: $871,465,485
- $100,000,000 (minimum)
The bill also includes supplemental support for federal programs that will substantially benefit New Jersey like national funding for airports, water infrastructure, flood resiliency, as well as funding for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor Gateway Program. The estimated costs for these projects were not included in the $12.3 billion directly granted to New Jersey.
While it may take some time (i.e., years) for the majority of these projects to come to fruition, it is never too early for individuals to forecast the prospective impact on their property rights. One major impact is likely a substantial increase in eminent domain activity across the state. Eminent domain is the government’s power to take private land for public use via specific condemnation procedures. In exchange, property owners must be justly compensated for the fair market value of their property. At these early stages, it is important for property owners to be on the lookout for communications from governmental agencies interested in condemning a portion or the entirety of their property. If you are contacted by one of these agencies, please contact McKirdy, Riskin, Olson & DellaPelle, P.C. to speak with an experienced attorney who specializes in the field. Our team can guide you through the entire eminent domain process to ensure that your property rights are protected.
The Owners’ Counsel of America, an association dedicated to assisting private property owners in eminent domain and takings cases nationwide (in which MROD’s Anthony DellaPelle serves as the New Jersey representative), published a helpful informational article about the general impact of the infrastructure bill. Please feel free to read that article here. Additionally, these are a few news stories relating to the bill: “Biden signs infrastructure bill with billions for N.J. roads and funding for Gateway Tunnel;” “Biden’s $1.2T Infrastructure bill is now a reality. Here’s what it means for NJ;” “Here’s What NJ Will Get From $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill.”