Governor Phil Murphy

This Week in New Jersey: December 11th, 2020


Governor Murphy Announces $190 Million in Major Renovations at Newark Penn Station

Governor Phil Murphy announced a commitment of $190 million for renovations and upgrades at historic Newark Penn Station.

“Penn Station is a vital hub not just for those heading to New York City each day, but it is also a gateway to Newark and the resurgence that has taken place here over the past two decades,” said Governor Murphy. “We are thrilled to announce these renovations, which, when completed, will help restore this historic station to its former glory.” 

“There is no more iconic or well-traversed landmark in the state than Newark Penn Station and it is long past due that it receives the critical repairs and upgrades that are needed,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “I am so pleased that Governor Murphy and NJ Transit are making this tremendous investment in our state’s infrastructure that will not only serve our commuters but also generate the type of economic revitalization that Newark and the surrounding communities require to thrive.”

“Newark is the largest city in the state and Penn Station is a major gateway for commerce, employment, and economic development. It is good news that this administration understands the importance of this and are committed to ensuring that this critical piece of infrastructure has significant investment,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. “We welcome Governor Murphy’s $190 million state-funded program to upgrade, renovate, rebuild, and remodel Newark Penn Station. This project is important for New Jersey as a whole, for our region, and for Newark particularly.”

“Historic Newark Penn Station is one of our region’s busiest and most vital transportation hubs serving NJ TRANSIT rail, bus and light rail customers, as well as Amtrak and PATH,” said NJ DOT Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “It deserves this significant investment to see its grandeur restored, and at the same time we’ll be improving the overall customer experience at the station.” 

“We’re extremely grateful to Governor Murphy and Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti for this generous financial commitment that will allow us to restore this historic station to its former glory,” said NJ TRANSIT President and CEO Kevin Corbett. “Consistent with the goals laid out in our recently released 10-Year Strategic Plan, NJT2030, this additional funding will allow us to perform the necessary work that will improve the travel experience for the thousands of customers who travel through Newark Penn Station every day." 


Governor Murphy and NJ Transit Celebrate Critical Step to Bring Portal North Bridge Closer to Full Funding Grant Agreement

Governor Phil Murphy, Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, and NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett celebrated the vote by NJ TRANSIT’s Board of Directors authorizing the execution of a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to construct a new Portal North Bridge. The FFGA marks the final stage of the Capital Investment Grant process to fund the $1.8 billion new fixed span across the Hackensack River, and with this Board authorization the FFGA is nearly ready to be signed pending final USDOT and Congressional review. The current 110-year-old Portal Bridge has long been the source of congestion and mechanical issues, resulting in delays for NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak commuters.

“Since taking office, one of my top priorities has been to secure funding for key infrastructure projects that will carry our commuters and our economy forward,” said Governor Murphy. “I’m thrilled by the Board’s decision today to green light this agreement, which moves us one step closer to replacing this unreliable, century-old bridge that has threatened to grind the Northeast Corridor to a halt and been a source of untold stress for thousands of riders who rely on it. New Jersey has put our skin in the game with more than our fair share of funding, and I look forward to working with the Federal Transit Administration to get this shovel-ready project started.”

“The Portal North Bridge replacement is one of the most important infrastructure projects we are undertaking to improve service reliability and safety for NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak customers,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “Today’s Board action is a critical step to finalizing the federal grant agreement and beginning construction.”

“We are extremely pleased the Board of Directors has given us authorization to enter into the Full Funding Grant Agreement for Portal North Bridge,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett. “We’re grateful for the unwavering support of Governor Murphy, Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti and our New Jersey Congressional delegation. We also thank the USDOT, and our partners at the FTA, FRA and Amtrak, for their support of this critical project of national significance that will improve reliability for the tens of thousands of NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak customers who cross the Portal Bridge every day.”


Governor Murphy and Department of Education Announce $2.5 Million Grant Program to Address Learning Loss Among Students

Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Education announced a $2.5 million grant to implement, scale-up, and enhance evidence-based interventions that accelerate students’ academic progress and reduce learning loss among New Jersey students that has resulted from school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, learning loss among our students is one of the most significant challenges faced by schools throughout New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy. “With this program, among other efforts from the Department, we are committed to closing the gap for vulnerable students who may have fallen behind by helping districts implement exemplar programs in their own schools as well as providing additional resources to ensure that every student receives the high-quality education that they deserve.”

“The New Jersey Department of Education is committed to working with districts in this crucial endeavor to advance student learning in all New Jersey schools,” said Acting Education Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan, Ed.D. “We know that mitigating the effects of learning loss is not a one-time fix. Rather, this grant signifies the Department’s growing commitment to enhancing the suite of tools and supports we provide districts to measure, remediate, and prevent gaps in student learning resulting from COVID-19.”


Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Enrolling Residents Who Choose to Receive a COVID-19 Vaccine in the New Jersey Immunization Information System

In preparation for the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines to New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 207, which automatically enrolls residents who choose to receive a COVID-19 vaccine into the state’s existing vaccine registry. The Governor’s Executive Order changes inclusion into the New Jersey Immunization Information System from an opt-in to an opt-out program for residents who elect to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. That group of residents will be automatically enrolled into the system, and will then be permitted to opt-out of the registry 30 days after the public health emergency expires.

Currently, all individuals born on or after January 1, 1998 are automatically enrolled in the registry, unless they opt-out of the registry. Any individual born prior to January 1, 1998 can elect to opt-in to the registry.  

“As we continue to prepare for the first tranche of vaccines in New Jersey, we are exploring every avenue to maximize efficacy and efficiency,” said Governor Murphy. “We’re taking this step today to ensure that New Jerseyans who choose to receive a COVID-19 vaccine get the most effective course, on the proper timetable, without logistical or bureaucratic hurdles in the way.”

“Accurate accounting of every dose of vaccine is vital to monitoring implementation progress of New Jersey’s vaccination plan,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.  “The system will also allow us to ensure residents are returning for the second dose of vaccine.”


Governor Murphy Announces Retirement of New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency Executive Director Charles A. Richman

Governor Phil Murphy announced that Charles A. Richman, Executive Director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) will be retiring from public service as of December 31, 2020 after nearly 50 years of service.

“Chuck Richman has been a lifelong champion for policy initiatives that matter most to New Jersey’s underserved communities,” said Governor Murphy. “From the implementation of the Housing First Initiative, a nationally-recognized supportive housing approach to end chronic homelessness, to his passion and expertise on the provision of affordable housing, Chuck has earned the admiration of DCA and NJHMFA staff, housing partners, and colleagues both inside and outside of state government. His service to the State of New Jersey will be greatly missed.”

“For decades, Charles Richman has been at the core of our efforts in New Jersey to provide stable, affordable housing to residents,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs and HMFA board chair. “His work ethic and contributions to New Jersey have become the gold standard in government operations, budgetary matters, legislative strategies, economic development, community planning and advocacy. Chuck leads with compassion and has dedicated his career to the good residents of our State. His leadership and impact will certainly be missed, and we are grateful for his service.” 

"I've worked closely with Chuck Richman and he is a devoted public servant with a genuine commitment to creating policy that improves the quality of life for New Jersey’s underserved communities,” said Leslie A. Anderson, President & CEO, New Jersey Redevelopment Authority. “He leaves an enduring legacy in community development and affordable housing.  His indelible mark on the State of New Jersey through the Department of Community Affairs and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency will be difficult to match.  I want to honor Chuck for his mentorship of countless staff and leaders including me. While his leadership will be sorely missed, his impact will continue on." 

“Increasing the supply of safe, affordable, and accessible housing that meets the needs of a diverse range of households has been at the core of my work at DCA and NJHMFA, as well as my life’s mission. I am most proud of the work I have done to support and develop housing for people with special needs,” said Executive Director Richman. “I am honored to have served the residents of the State of New Jersey. I would like to thank Governor Murphy and Lt. Governor Oliver for their support, and I am proud to have worked with exceptional teams, dedicated to creating, supporting, and strengthening our communities.”