The TOGETHER NORTH JERSEY region has received Preferred Sustainability Status (PSS) from the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities. As part of that status, jurisdictions, agencies and organizations located within the region are eligible to receive two “bonus points” when applying to certain U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) competitive grant programs and “priority consideration” when applying to some grant and technical assistance programs administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
To obtain PSS “bonus points” or “priority consideration”, applicants must demonstrate that their proposed projects are consistent with the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities Livability Principles and the following goals of the TOGETHER NORTH JERSEY regional planning grant:
- Strengthen the region’s economic base by growing jobs in key industry sectors and leveraging economic assets such as the region’s well-educated workforce, the port/airport complex and concentrations of employment in the region’s core cities.
- Integrate economic and workforce development initiatives to support priority industry clusters.
- Align existing plans, programs and regulations at all levels of government.
- Improve transportation connections and choices to better link where people live with where they need to go.
- Focus residential and employment growth in areas with existing infrastructure (including transit service) to reduce future costs at all levels of government.
- Consider equity issues throughout the planning and implementation process, including: access to opportunity (jobs, education, fresh food, etc.) for all the region’s residents as well as consideration of the benefits and burdens that accrue to areas prioritized for growth and those identified for more limited growth and preservation.
- Engage a broad spectrum of the public, businesses, local government officials and other interested parties to develop locally defined long-term planning goals for the region.
According to HUD’s PSS guidance, consistency with the Livability Principles and the TOGETHER NORTH JERSEY regional planning grant must be certified by Rutgers-Bloustein, the Administrative and Fiscal Agent for TOGETHER NORTH JERSEY. The certification form or letter must then be included with the grant or program application package to be considered application reviewers.