By David Madden

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – The Delaware River Port Authority was supposed to be out of the economic development business (see previous story), but there’s a $29-million pool of unspent funds earmarked for that purpose.

Now, the DRPA board is working on ways to put that money to use.

They just can’t throw that money into the general fund — that’s what toll revenue is for.  Financial advisers have been rehired at the agency (that’s nothing new), but their agenda will change a bit as the DRPA reclaims funds from a number of committed projects.

“A substantial amount of the remaining money will be rededicated to pay back debt,” says vice chair Jeffrey Nash, who heads the finance committee.  “Some of the projects need to be reviewed to determine if there has been reliance on money, because the board did vote to fund some projects.”

…like deepening the Delaware River channel and repairing a rail line linking Swedesboro and Salem, NJ.

The agency’s debt now stands at $1.3 billion, with about half of that tied up in intricate swaps used more than a decade ago to independently fund economic development work.

Nash hopes the experts will begin to address the unspent money issue at the next meeting of the agency’s finance committee.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060

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