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Del. River Port Authority Approves a Final Flotilla of Economic Development Spending

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(The DRPA board, meeting today in Camden.  Credit: David Madden)

(The DRPA board, meeting today in Camden. Credit: David Madden)

David Madden David Madden
David Madden is a Philadelphia native with virtually a lifetime of...
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By David Madden

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — The Delaware River Port Authority has made what everyone there insists is its final economic development decisions — allocating $30 million mostly to projects that have nothing to do with the operation of the Port Authority itself.

Almost $20 million of the total will go for a variety of projects, from feeding the poor to dredging the Cooper River, to preparing the old state prison site in Camden for development.

Pennsylvania auditor general Jack Wagner was one of two “no” votes on the plan — not that he didn’t want the funds to go to New Jersey, since his state already spent its share.

“I thought we changed our direction, and as I sit here today I’m not sure we have,” Wagner said.

But Governor Tom Corbett, chair of the authority, was among those supporting the plan.

“This is ‘old’ money,” says Kevin Harley, a spokesman for Gov. Corbett. “This is closing the books on that money that was approved in 2010, and under Governor Corbett there will be no more economic development.”

New Jersey board members said that Gov. Chris Christie is also on board with this resolution.

Board vice chair Jeffrey Nash just wants to turn the page.

“The fundamentally fair way to do that is to allocate monies that had been previously approved by this board,” he said.
But not everyone agrees. Jenny Robinson, of AAA Mid-Atlantic, is glad that economic development spending is over, but…

“We’re disappointed that so much of the money is still being allocated to projects that are not directly transportation related.”

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