“Gov. Corzine further stated that he is “totally committed” to the urban hub concept . “It is how we rebuild Newark, Camden and our communities,” he said. The RAD bill, “without too much modification, is something I would support,” Gov. Corzine said.”
These two bills are essential for the renewal of New Jersey’s Urban Centers. The Urban Transit Hub program is an excellent concept that needs to be expanded. Currently it covers development within .25 miles of a “transit hub” which is defined as being a commuter heavy rail station. The development has to be of a size greater than $75 million. The definition of a transit hub must be expanded to include light rail, high volume bus terminals, freight rail and more.
There is also talk of lowering the financial component to $50 Million. This must be lowered even more if not eliminated. The bulk of buildings that make up cities like Newark, Camden Patterson, Trenton and Jersey City have are not worth more than a couple of million each. These are the buildings that will lead to a renaissance in these cities. Downtown Newark has plenty of large buildings however most buildings in Newark require only a fraction of the investment required by the Urban transit Hub Program. A threshold of $50 or $75 million almost ensures that these programs will not be taken advantage of due to the difficulty in assembling these properties. It is the owners of the smaller mixed use properties that will bring vibrancy back to these neighborhoods.
RAD is an interesting program however is just a bit of funny financing and when abused will cause more trouble than anyone had ever thought. Essential RAD allows developers to obtain Financing based upon the projected tax revenue benefits of a development. I am no economist but I can only guess how impossible it is to accurately project tax revenues from a yet to be built project, not to mention how corruptable a process it must be. Either way it will spur development in urban areas I just say beware.