Gov. Christie Unveils New Development Strategy for NJ

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has unveiled a new strategic plan for economic development in the Garden State, ordering state departments to make sure their rules and investments help push development in those areas.

Christie identified several industries he said are “poised for growth” in NJ; he directed state officials to determine how best to expand these sectors, which include pharmaceuticals, transportation, finance, manufacturing, technology and health care.

The governor’s blueprint, called the State Strategic Plan, also urges the establishment of new “priority growth areas” in existing cities and towns to prevent sprawl in undeveloped areas, and the identification of shovel-ready redevelopment projects in those areas. Christie’s plan is a major revision of the previous planning blueprint for NJ, adopted in 2001.

“New Jersey’s challenges are too great to be approached in the stratified, haphazard and unrealistic manner that has characterized previous statewide planning efforts,” Christie said in a statement.

The new strategy emphasizes the benefit of preserving farmland and open space in New Jersey, but calls for ensuring those protections match economic development goals. As part of his announcement, Christie also issued an executive order creating a news cabinet-level steering committee that will oversee how state departments implement the changes. The plan also calls for departments to shift money into a “Garden State Fund” that will support Christie’s goals.