Bridge commuters will be interested in hearing this: Despite the Delaware River Port Authority putting an end to the funding of economic development projects (i.e. projects unrelated to transportation) two years ago, said projects continue to get money.
An example of this is the $2.2 million allotted “to guarantee bank loans made to the Battleship New Jersey on the Camden riverfront, L3 Communications Corp. in Camden, and the Ship Recycling Research Institute in South Philadelphia.” DRPA deputy CEO Michael Conallen says that if the loans are paid off, the $2.2 million “will revert back to the DRPA,” according to Philly.com’s Paul Nussbaum.
Nussbaum reports the DRPA, a self-sustaining transportation agency who's borrowed close to $500 million over the last sixteen years for economic development, has "about $23 million left in its economic development fund."
More specifically, DRPA records show that of this unspent amount, $17.5 million will go to projects in New Jersey, while $5.2 million will go to those in Pennsylvania.
Jeffrey L. Nash, vice chairman of the DRPA board, says money will continue to go into these projects because the majority are "ongoing and obligated by contract," and that "remaining balances from completed projects will be returned to the general fund," which will be used "to reduce tolls for frequent commuters."
Among some of the past projects with leftover funds are:
- Riverfront State Prison demolition ($6 million given, $4.3 million left over)
- Cooper River watercourse and waterfront renovation ($4 million given, still not spent)
- Food Bank of South Jersey ($2 million given, $800,000 left over)
- Delaware River dredging by the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority ($19.5 million given, $1 million left over)
• DRPA still has committed money for development [Philly.com]
Moving onto news elsewhere...
• Checkers to open 14 locations in Philadelphia by 2018 [Philadelphia Business Journal]
• Rita's tragedy: Freak accident or shoddy work? [Daily News]