P-3: Infrastructure Bill Passes House – $1.2 Trillion in Hard Infrastructure

As of November 6, 2021, the House of Representatives passed what has been referred to as the $1.2 Trillion Dollar “hard” infrastructure bill by a vote of 228-206.  President Biden has advised that he very much looks forward to signing the bill.  The Congressional Budget Office continues its work to score the separate social policy “Reconciliation Bill” that is priced at approximately $1.75 Trillion.

The Hard Infrastructure bill includes $550 Billion in new spending focusing on the areas of:

> $110 billion toward roads, bridges and other infrastructure upgrades across the country;

> $40 billion is new funding for bridge repair, replacement, and rehabilitation and $17.5 billion is for major projects;

> $73 billion for the country’s electric grid and power structures;

> $66 billion for rail services;

> $65 billion for broadband;

> $55 billion for water infrastructure;

> $21 billion in environmental remediation;

> $47 billion for flooding and coastal resiliency as well as “climate resiliency,” including protections against wild fires;

> $39 billion to modernize transit, which is the largest federal investment in public transit in history;

> $25 billion for airports;

> $17 billion in port infrastructure;

> $11 billion in transportation safety programs;

> $7.5 billion for electric vehicles and EV charging;

> $2.5 billion in zero-emission buses;

> $2.5 billion in low-emission buses; and

>  $2.5 billion for ferries.

We will continue to focus on the specifics of the various spending packages and will look to report back as details become more visible.  Additionally, the CBO is expected to complete its work this week (by November 12, 2021) on the Reconciliation Bill to enable the bill to likely be voted on next week when Congress is back in session.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of P-3, public private partnerships and incentives related alerts, blogs and advice on various P-3 and incentives related topics. Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Paul Josephson, Joel Ephross, Phyllis Kessler, Mike Barz, Nat Abramowitz or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

NJ EDA now accepting Commercial Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant applications – 30% of eligible project costs

As of August 16, 2021, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has commenced accepting applications for commercial projects under the Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) Program. The Commercial ERG Program is an incentive that is designed to assist developers and businesses address project financing gaps in development or redevelopment projects, including below market development margins or rates of return.

A link to the application and more information is available at https://www.njeda.com/erg.

Qualified projects are eligible to receive an incentive grant reimbursement of up to 30% of total “eligible project costs”. Moreover, projects in Atlantic City, Camden, Paterson, Passaic, and Trenton are eligible to receive reimbursements up to 40% of eligible project costs. Subsidies awarded through the ERG Program are not meant to be a substitute for conventional debt and equity financing.

Prior to applying, prospective applicants are required to have the balance of their funding identified or in place or be able to demonstrate that any terms of other financing are reasonable.

Among other requirements, projects must:

• Be located in a qualifying incentive area.
• Demonstrate that a project financing gap exists.
• Be predominantly commercial and contain 100,000 or more square feet of retail, office, and/or industrial uses for purchase or lease.
• Not have commenced any construction at the site of a proposed redevelopment project prior to submitting an application or demonstrate to the NJEDA that the project would not be completed otherwise or is to be undertaken in phases.
• Demonstrate the tax revenues the State will realize from the project will be greater than the incentive being provided.

Additional information on eligibility for the Commercial ERG Program can be found at the 2021 Commercial Extension Clarification Document at https://www.njeda.com/erg.

All applicants are required to submit an application via the NJEDA’s online application at https://application.njeda.com/. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted or Thursday, December 30, 2021.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of P-3, public private partnerships and incentives  related alerts, blogs and advice on various P-3 and incentives related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Paul Josephson, Mike Barz, Nat Abramowitz or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: NJ ends Public Health Emergency Declaration

On Friday, June 4, Governor Murphy signed legislation that effectively ends the New Jersey COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Order that has been in place since March 9, 2020.

While some have commented that the bills were rushed through the State legislature, the Bill, A-5820/S-3866, was passed and signed by the governor yesterday.

As passed, the Bill allows for the continuation of 14 executive orders, including Executive Order No. 229, which extended a moratorium preventing New Jersey residents from having their utilities disconnected through June 30, 2021.

According to the Chamber of Commerce, the Administration is authorized to issue orders, directives, and waivers under the authority in the Emergency Health Powers Act that are specifically related to:

• personnel allocation and health resource allocation efforts;
• testing;
• vaccinations; 
• health department coordination;
• data retention, sharing, collection and access; and
• implementation of CDC recommendations to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

In these instances, the Governor has retained authority until January 11, 2022, which authority can be extended for 90 days with the passage of a concurrent resolution by the Legislature.

As of July 4, 2021, the Bill and the follow on companion bill effectively puts an end the Public Health Emergency declaration in New Jersey.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer, Eve Klein, Kathy O’Malley or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

It’s a Big Deal – The American Jobs Plan

President Biden’s “Build Bank Better Plan” for infrastructure has morphed into “The American Jobs Plan,” a fact sheet for which was released on March 31, 2021.

Many of the details of The American Jobs Plan remain to be developed, including funding mechanisms and the role of the private sector. The Plan contains a section entitled “The Made in America Tax Plan” that provides an outline as to how the Plan is proposed to be financed, including (i) increasing the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, (ii) modifying the global minimum tax for U.S. multinational corporations, (iii) strengthening provisions making it more difficult for corporations to avoid U.S. taxes by claiming to be a foreign company, (iv) modifying provisions that allow expense deductions from off-shoring jobs and that provide incentives for shifting assets abroad, (v) enacting a minimum tax on the book income of large corporations, (vi) eliminating special preferences for the fossil fuel industry and restoring payments to the Superfund Trust Fund, and (vii) enhancing Internal Revenue Service enforcement.  Although not mentioned, but expected by some sources, changes also include an increase in capital gains taxes for affluent Americans and the re-imposition of the individual tax rate of 39.6% for individuals earning more than $400,000 per year.

Battle lines are already forming and the enactment of legislation creating and funding The American Jobs Plan is far from certain. Key elements of the Plan are outlined below.

Continue reading “It’s a Big Deal – The American Jobs Plan”

COVID-19: As of 4-2-21, NJ Expands Outdoor Gathering Numbers and Indoor Seating Capacity for Large Venues

Earlier today on 3-30-21, NJ Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 234, which will increase outdoor gathering limits and increase capacity for seated events at large venues. The Order also clarifies indoor capacity limits for banquet halls and similar venues.

Executive Order No. 234 enables the following changes on Friday, April 2, at 6:00 a.m.:

Outdoor Gatherings:

The general outdoor gathering limit will increase from 50 people to 200 people.

Outdoor gatherings that are religious services or ceremonies, political events, weddings, funerals, or memorial services will continue to not have any limit.

College and youth sporting events will be permitted up to 200 spectators if the outdoor venue can accommodate appropriate social distancing.

Large Venues:

Venues, including sports and entertainment venues, with a seating capacity of 2,500 or more will be permitted to host events at 20% capacity indoors and 30% capacity outdoors. The capacity limits will continue to exclude participants, such as athletes and performers, and staff, such as coaches and ushers.

Facilities that host such events must ensure that all attendees at the event remain six feet apart from other attendees, except those individuals who purchase or reserve tickets together may be seated together. Attendees will also be required to wear masks within the facility, except when eating or drinking.

Catered Events:

The Order also clarifies that banquet halls and similar dining establishments and venues that use a licensed caterer can host indoor celebrations and other private catered events at 35% of the room’s capacity, up to 150 persons.

Indoor Gatherings:

The general indoor gathering limit will remain at 25 people.

Indoor gatherings that currently have a higher limit – religious services or ceremonies, political events, weddings, funerals, memorial services, or performances – will remain unchanged.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer, Eve Klein, Kathy O’Malley or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

 

COVID-19: NJ Expands list of Eligible Vaccine Recipients

Late last week (on March 27, 2021), Governor Murphy announced the expansion of eligibility for vaccines to more frontline essential workers and high-risk groups in New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

Eligible groups include individuals ages 55-64, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, higher education educators and staff, and communications and utility infrastructure workers among others.

Beginning Monday, April 5, the following groups are eligible for vaccination:

Individuals ages 55-64;

Individuals ages 16 and up with intellectual and developmental disabilities;
Educators, including support staff, in higher education settings;

Communications infrastructure support, including engineers, and technicians, and members of the press;

Real estate, building, and home service workers, including construction workers, code officials, plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, property management, and maintenance workers;

Retail financial institution workers, including bank tellers, lending services, public accounting, and check-cashing workers;

Sanitation workers providing disinfection and janitorial services, city sanitation workers; residential, commercial, and industrial solid and hazardous waste removal workers;

Laundry service workers, including those working in laundromats, laundry services, and dry cleaners;

Utility workers including, electrical generation and supply system, natural gas delivery, nuclear power plant, water supply, telephone, cable/fiber/optical/broadband/cellular service workers; and,

Librarians and support staff at municipal, county, and state libraries.

For more information about eligibility, statewide vaccination site locations, and to preregister for a vaccination, visit https://covid19.nj.gov/vaccine.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer, Eve Klein or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

“Build Back Better Plan” Expected to Be Released

President Biden’s promised infrastructure legislation, sometimes known by the slogan the “Build Back Better Plan” is still under wraps, but some information is beginning to leak out. According to the New York Times, in an article from March 22, 2021 (updated on March 25, 2021), the total package could be as high as $3 trillion, but would be structured in parts.

One part would address traditional infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges, rail lines, ports, electric vehicle charging stations, and improvements to the power grid. It is also expected to provide funding for rural broadband and affordable and energy efficient housing units. A key focus would also be on infrastructure related to emerging and high growth industries, such as electrical vehicles, 5G telecommunications and emerging industries. It is expected that that there would be an emphasis on projects that promote the transition to a low carbon / clean energy future.

The second part of the plan would focus on “human infrastructure”. This part is expected to provide funds for education (e.g. free community college and universal kindergarten have been mentioned), skills training and programs that promote broader participation in the job market, as well as tax code modifications for the benefit of workers.

Little specificity has been provided with respect to how the plan is to be paid for, with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg noting at a House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee hearing on March 25,, 2021 that the payment will be through a combination of specific sources such as gas taxes, taxes through the general budget and borrowing. Specific proposals intended to generate revenue, such as, the increase of tax rates and conversion of the gas tax to a “vehicle miles traveled” system have not yet been released.

Proposals have also surfaced suggesting that financing be provided via the use of expanded P-3 structures, the formation of a national infrastructure bank and by bringing back the Build America Bonds that were created as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 to help create jobs and stimulate the economy. The program expired in 2010. The bonds were taxable municipal bonds that came with federal tax credits or subsidies for bondholders or state and local government bond issuers.

While waiting for the reveal of a national program, a number of “mode-specific” bills have already been introduced. For example, one bill would create a Passenger Rail Trust Fund that would provide $5.4 billion annually in grants to Amtrak for, among other things, repairs and fleet modernization. Also, a bill has been introduced for wastewater infrastructure, which would include $40 billion over a five year period for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, that would provide low-interest loans, loan subsidizations and grants for wastewater infrastructure.

It is expected that President Biden will reveal more details of the Build Back Better Plan in a speech in the very near future, but strategies for trying to obtain congressional approval of the package of legislation implementing the plan remains unclear.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Tom Totten or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

ASCE Releases 2021 National Infrastructure Report Card

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released its National Infrastructure Report Card on May 3, 2021 and gave the nation’s infrastructure an overall grade of “C-“.  This overall grade is up slightly from the 2017 Report Card where ASCE gave the nation’s infrastructure a “D+” grade.  The 2021 Report Card indicated that this  “is good news and an indication that we’re headed in the right direction, but a lot of work remains”. Continue reading “ASCE Releases 2021 National Infrastructure Report Card”

COVID-19: PA announces April time frame for additional restaurant and hospitality indoor and outdoor rules relaxation

Earlier today, Monday, March 15th, PA Gov. Wolf relaxed certain Covid-19 restrictions, including making substantial modification to some of the more  restrictive guidelines that apply to the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Effective April 4th at midnight, “self-certified” restaurants, gyms, casinos, malls and theatres in PA will be permitted to operate at 75% capacity. Non-self-certified restaurants are required to remain at 50% capacity. The self-certification process involves agreeing to strictly comply to all public health safety guidelines and orders, including the cleaning and mitigation protocols and other operational requirements issued by the CDC and the PA Department of Health.

The previous guideline that required restaurants and bars to have “last call” at 11 p.m. has also been eliminated. Additionally, bar seating will now be permitted so long as barriers exist between guests. Per the Philadelphia Business Journal, the changes also lift requirements that patrons order food with alcohol, i.e., merely drinking will be permitted on a go forward basis as of April 4.

The governor also announced revised maximum occupancy limits for indoor events to allow for 25% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size, and maximum occupancy limits for outdoor events to allow for 50% of maximum occupancy, also regardless of venue size.

The City of Philadelphia is currently allowing a 50% indoor capacity maximum if the applicable restaurant is approved under a certification process. Philadelphia which has set its own stricter rules has advised that it will review its rules in light of the new Commonwealth guidance.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer, Eve Klein or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

 

 

COVID-19: Philadelphia begins Reopening Indoor and Outdoor Sporting Events to Live Fans!

The City of Philadelphia has elected to follow the Commonwealth’s guidance on enabling sporting events to begin bringing back fans live.

The revised restrictions allow outdoor venues to have occupancy of 20% of maximum capacity and indoor venues to have occupancy of 15% of maximum capacity, regardless of venue size.

Gov. Tom Wolf had announced this updated statewide guidance earlier this week on March 1, 2021.

According to Philadelphia Business Journal reporting, the Wells Fargo Center will initially be able to host 3,100 fans for Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers game and will begin to allow fans live as of Sunday night’s game against the Washington Capitals.

The 76ers will begin hosting fans starting March 14.

According to press releases from the teams, the Wells Fargo Center recently completed an $11 million installation of a new HVAC system that replaces indoor air every 30 minutes.

The Phillies will host Opening Day at 42,729-seat Citizens Bank Park against the Atlanta Braves on April 1. Under current guidance, 8,558 attendees will be allowed at the event, noting, it is unclear exactly how many fans will be permitted inside the stadium as the limits include coaches, players, team employees and arena staff.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.