Bike Share Scheme
Ventnor’s Vince Sacco is working to bring a bike-share scheme Downbeach that will function using an app to unlock one of 10 bikes at a preliminary five bike stations spread between Ventnor, Margate and Longport, The Press of Atlantic City reports. We are all in. This is Elinor writing (good morning!) and I lived in London and New York when bike-share programs were brought in there, with a lot of success in spite of doubters. I also used a bike share to commute to work while we lived in Mexico City for several years, where it was also successful. I would be a big user if it starts here – and I’d love to see it extend eventually to Atlantic City.
Gov. Chris Christie has now seen the state’s credit rating cut a whopping 11 times since he took office. Christie pinned the blame on the pensions system, while the debt ratings agency said that sales and estate tax cuts passed by Christie last year (you might not have noticed because they were passed in conjunction with the gas-tax hike) were also to blame. The rating downgrade will have a knock-on effect for towns, state and local agencies and authorities and counties trying to issue debt. And, well, does it give you a lot of confidence that Christie’s crack team is really the right bunch to be fixing Atlantic City’s finances? (To be fair, AC did get a minor credit upgrade this month, but its rating still has a negative outlook.)
Birds of May
That is the name of a documentary airing Friday at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival, on the Cape May County oyster fisherman trying to revive their struggling industry without disturbing the threatened red knots that migrate from the end of South America to the Arctic every year, stopping off to feed at the shore. The Philadelphia Inquirer has the details on the film. Also airing at the festival is The Pine Barrens, an intimate and beautiful look at the Pinelands filmed painstakingly over years by David Scott Kessler. We got a sneak peak of the film at Lines on the Pines this March. The piece features a soundtrack provided by an amazing live ensemble, The Ruins of Friendship Orchestra.
The rest of the headlines from the last 24 hours include a tiny South Jersey Post Office that has to find a new home, A Pinelands Commission member taking social media critics to court and NJPen’s Matt Skoufalos takes a look at the scammers taking advantage of undocumented immigrants in New Jersey. All that and more below:
South Jersey Asphalt Refinery to Lay Off 115 in Plant Closure–Reuters reported in January that the Paulsboro refinery, owned by a New York hedge fund, would shutter this year. Philadelphia Business Journal
Joint Base reports high levels of two hazardous chemicals in water–A pair of hazardous chemicals used for decades in firefighting at Joint Base McGuire/Dix/Lakehurst have contaminated ground, surface, and drinking water on and near the base, a spokesman said last week, with tests showing levels 20 to thousands of times higher in some samples than federally recommended standards. Philly.com
A Video Primer of New Jersey’s Property-Tax Relief Programs–Get a guided tour through New Jersey’s complex and sometimes convoluted property-tax relief programs with John Reitmeyer, NJ Spotlight’s budget & public finance writer. www.njspotlight.com
Opinion: Welcome to the Brave New World of Stormwater–We need to think of stormwater as a resource that supports our streams, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries, not something to be discarded and forgotten. www.njspotlight.com
$400M Supplemental Transportation Aid OK’d in Time for Pothole Season–After starting the fiscal year last summer without any money for road, bridge, and mass-transit improvements, New Jersey is now on the verge of spending a record $2 billion. www.njspotlight.com