Because of a projected $10 billion budget shortfall due to the pandemic, the administration of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says it will cut $80 million in funding that was supposed to kick start replacement of lead service lines in the state, NJ Spotlight reports.
The Department of Environmental Protection estimates that replacing all 330,000 lead pipes in the state will cost about $2 billion. Even the relative small amount to start the process was deemed too much right now.
“It’s really a tough situation,” Dave Pringle, a consultant for Clean Water Action, told NJ Spotlight. “We clearly don’t have the money for the things that need to be funded.”
Lead line replacement will continue in Newark, however. The state’s largest city secured $130 million in bond funding and expects to replace all of its lead pipes within three years.