Friday Facts and Figures is a weekly newsletter with data points, analysis, and commentary on the biggest policy debates in New Jersey and beyond.
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Vaccine Doses: 14,697,001
Fully Vaccinated People: 7,012,828
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law earlier this week, and millions of New Jersey residents will pay less for health care and lifesaving medication as a result. For residents enrolled in health plans through the state-run exchange, the IRA extends premium subsidies that were put in place at the start of the pandemic. A whopping nine out of ten residents who purchase insurance in the marketplace qualify for these benefits. For seniors on Medicare, the IRA caps out-of-pocket insulin costs to $35 a month and allows Medicare to negotiate certain drug prices. “It’s a really historic change and one we’ve been fighting for, for a long time,” said Crystal McDonald, Associate State Director for AARP New Jersey. [NJ Spotlight News / Lilo Stainton]
First, some good climate news: New Jersey is getting a new electric bus terminal! Thanks to a $44 million grant from the Biden administration, NJ Transit will turn the decommissioned Union City Bus Garage into a new terminal and garage equipped with up to 60 electric buses and charging infrastructure. As NJPP Crotty Fellow Nausheen Rajan noted in her March 2021 report, electrifying New Jersey’s public bus fleet is necessary to combat climate change and reduce harmful diesel emissions. [NJ.com / Larry Higgs]
Now for some pretty bad climate news: The Murphy administration is moving forward with a $4.7 billion plan to widen the NJ Turnpike Extension in Hudson County. Repairing and replacing parts of the highway is without a doubt necessary, but adding lanes to this stretch of the NJ Turnpike — which runs right through the heart of Jersey City — is not only counterproductive but dangerous. More lanes will add more traffic and congestion (click here to watch a great explainer on induced demand) as more cars try to fit into the Holland Tunnel, bringing more pollution to the city and surrounding area. The plan not only conflicts with the state’s climate and sustainability goals, but is opposed by the Jersey City and Hoboken City Councils, and ignores alternative mass transit expansions (like extending the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to Newark) that would actually reduce traffic and pollution. [The Star-Ledger / Editorial Board]
With rents skyrocketing and tenants in danger of eviction, state lawmakers have two new proposals to expand tenants’ rights and keep renters in their homes. The first would protect senior citizens and people with disabilities from being pushed out of their apartments when they are converted to condos or co-ops, and the second would require small landlords to provide tenants with receipts for cash payments, something large landlords are already required to do. NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Peter Chen told New Jersey Monitor that these proposals are a step in the right direction, but broader housing legislation is needed to alleviate the high cost of housing and make the state affordable for all. [NJ Monitor / Sophie Nieto-Munoz]
Immigrants’ rights activists will rally outside the Elizabeth Detention Center tomorrow (Saturday) at 10:00 AM to celebrate the one-year anniversary of New Jersey’s detention ban and call on lawmakers to pass the Values Act, which would limit police cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Click the link for more info, via the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. [New Jersey Immigrant Justice Alliance]
Pets of NJPP
Meet Angus, who lives in Absecon with Debbie and George. This is Angus’s second feature in Friday Facts and Figures, and for good reason — this South Jersey pup visited Liberty State Park for the first time earlier this month, as pictured here with Lady Liberty. Woof!
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