BLOOMFIELD – You can’t go wrong supporting clean water.
And so it was that Sen. Robert Menendez and Rep. Mikie Sherrill joined local officials today outside an excavation site on Essex Avenue. The drilling and overall racket subsided long enough for Menendez and Sherrill to inspect a gaping hole in the street and to speak.
The senator hailed the work to replace old lead pipes as a very tangible benefit of the recently passed American Rescue Plan or stimulus bill.
He said that all the good things the bill has to offer are coming together in Bloomfield. In all, about $10 billion in aid from the bill is coming to New Jersey with about $1.8 billion of that going to the 21 counties.
Of the $26 million coming to Bloomfield, about $2 million will be used to replace aging pipes servicing about 250 homes.
Bloomfield is hooked up to the Newark water system, which has been plagued by lead contamination emanating from old pipes. Consuming lead-contaminated water is a definite health hazard.
Chris Strum of New Jersey Future, a public interest group, took note of the
surroundings – a pleasant day on a nice, suburban street. But she stressed that no matter what a community looks like, what’s happening underground is important. And that is where clean pipes come in.
The senator also spoke approvingly of the Biden Administration’s overall pandemic response, asserting that things are much better this April than they were a year ago.
He praised the rescue plan and also the administration’s proposed massive infrastructure plan.
Sherrill agreed that things are slowly getting better. The congresswoman, who lives in Montclair, said that today was the first day in more than a year that her children returned to in-person schools.
As for aid, Sherrill said local government entities in her 11th District have received about $475 million in aid.
Michael Venezia, the city’s mayor, said that besides replacing pipes, the federal aid will help the city keep its police and fire departments at full strength.
He thanked the federal officials, but said more financial help is still needed.
That prompted Menendez to compliment the mayor’s style of simultaneously expressing thanks and asking for more aid.
He said Venezia must have been taught well. High praise indeed from a senator whose career began in the turbulent political world of Hudson County.