TRENTON, N.J. (CBS/AP) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is calling for a sweeping $500 million bond to finance the replacement of lead pipes and lead paint across the state. The Democrat outlined his “comprehensive strategy” for dealing with the state’s lead issue on Thursday, two months after the issue surfaced in Newark with positive tests for lead in drinking water.
“While modernizing our aging water infrastructure is a critical piece in ensuring access to clean, safe drinking water, we must also work creatively and collaboratively to prevent lead exposure from lead-based paint in homes and contaminated soil in our communities,” said Murphy.
“Safe drinking water is a basic human right and vital for children to grow and thrive,” Department of Children and Families Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer said.
The plan also calls on his Cabinet to come up with a publicly available lead testing strategy and an inventory of lead paint and plumbing. Only a handful of states require or do voluntary inventories of lead pipes leading to homes.
It’s unclear whether the $500 million bond would be enough to finance the project entirely. Some estimates put the price tag of lead pipe replacement alone at $2 billion.
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