Fix Our Infrastructure
The Federal Railroad Administration recommended a $12,000 fine for NJ Transit for failing to install “positive train control” a system that helps trains avoid collisions and derailments like the ones that kill and injure commuters. Twelve thousand dollars might not sound like a lot of money for a big state agency, but as the increasingly outstanding NorthJersey.com reports, “railroads often pay less than the proposed penalty.” Who knows how small the actual fine will be! Anyway. It’s some public pressure.
The valuable NJSpotlight reports that the Christie administration paid $33.89 million in consulting fees to Bank of America Merrill Lynch for work it did last year on the governor’s plan to shift assets from the state lottery system so they’d go into the public-pension system instead of into the general budget. Doesn’t seem too terribly complicated but what do I know. Anyway. That’s $33.89 million.
The governor gave his State of the State speech yesterday afternoon at 3:00pm, and at 4:00pm, County Prosecutor Damon Tyner announced charges against James Kauffman over the 2012 murder of his wife, the radio host, April Kauffman.
The state sold $375.7 million in bonds to build those office buildings in Trenton no one seems to want, “brushing off critics who insisted that voters have the right to approve or reject such debt.” Silly critics! What’s a voter?
Wayne Parry at the Associated Press is reporting Glenn Straub has at last sold the Revel to Bruce Deifik, which should not surprise you if you’ve been reading this space. But Parry talked to Deifik who said the deal was “finalized” Thursday during the blizzard at a price of $200 million.
The decision to hold up that $300 million subsidy bill for PSE&G prompted a cat fight yesterday between Vince Prieto and his wider, more southerly colleague Steve Sweeney, who said he was “downright angry” the bill wasn’t posted.
Nothing weird about that, right? Sweeney just really, really feels very strongly that a bill to give a profitable company $300 million in subsidies should be signed during lame-duck/iceberg season so we can “stabilize” nuclear.
There’s an update on the $300 million PSE&G subsidy bill. It’s on pause after Speaker Vince Prieto in the Assembly declined to “post” it or something, the valuable NJ Spotlight reports. The bill will be back “in a much different form in the next legislative term, featuring new incentives to boost renewable energy and other clean-energy programs in New Jersey,” they say.
It’s a balmy 57 degrees here in the beach house that doubles as our Route 40 newsroom. Meaning inside the house. Apparently our vintage heating system is not designed for January. Also the “walls” aren’t “insulated?” Something like that.
Denver-based developer Bruce Deifik took two more steps toward buying the former Revel casino last month. Deifik registered a new company as a “casino hotel resort” in New Jersey and, through that new company, agreed to a mortgage on the former Revel property with the investment bank JPMorgan Chase.
Happy New Year from all of us to all of you! The Route 40 Roundup took a semi-planned hiatus last week as the Howler went to the spa to have his sarcasm levels adjusted. We’ll see how long he keeps his pledge to Focus His Enthusiasms in a More Positive Direction. Party of the Century
In the meantime, guess who spent New Year’s Eve partying with the president at Mar-a-Lago? South Jersey’s own George Norcross, seen (at that link) next to a guy in a silver dinner jacket.
The CEO of the Miss America Organization is a cad who appears to think calling the young women who help him earn $500,000 per year for organizing their pageant “c***s” in work-related emails is an enjoyable pastime, according to a review of those emails by the Huffington Post.
Happy Solstice, the shortest time of the year! Did you know Christmas has its origins in an old pagan festival? The ancient Druids noticed that winter loses all charm after December 25 and decided to throw a big party before flying off to Spain for two months. In other news, have you seen all the ads for nuclear energy lately? Cool, clear nuclear?
The Republicans are passing their tax bill, which is still polling in the low 30s, owing to the recalcitrance of the liberal media, though to be fair lots of other groups have spoken out against the bill as well. Among the locals in Congress it only has Tom MacArthur’s support. LoBiondo called it “detrimental.” Etc.
Adam Clark and Jessica Remo at NJ.com have a great story on school teachers in New Jersey accused of sexual misconduct–as in, against their own students–and how they keep getting jobs even though: are you kidding me?
“It’s called ‘passing the trash,'” Clark and Remo report, “a reckless cycle enabled by school administrators who fear litigation and shy away from controversy.” It echoes the situation with the Catholic Church or the Boy Scouts.
The chairman of a hospital in New Jersey has resigned amid revelations he’d promoted a friend to serve as his assistant in a “‘low-show’ six-figure job,” Susan Livio reports. That chairman was: former New Jersey Governor Donald DiFrancesco! The job went to his friend, Jill Cooperman. Altogether, her hiring cost the “struggling” hospital $500,000, and Livio has a nice breakdown of how that cost was divided: