The utility PSE&G is spending $55 million on upgrades in Camden to support a group of new businesses moving into the troubled city.
The push to provide sufficient electric and gas infrastructure for companies interested in relocating to the waterfront city addresses is an issue that has long afflicted Camden, and officials hope the announcement will encourage even more industry to follow.
“I guess everybody here probably saw a movie called Field of Dreams,” said U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden County) at the announcement. “If you build it, they will come.”
The utility will allocate roughly $48 million for electrical upgrades to the Locust St. substation and new electrical distribution lines and another $7 million to replace old, leaky gas mains.
Mayor Dana Redd said the investment not only shows that Camden is prepared to handle the volume of new industry but also that the city is taking proactive steps to be more business-friendly.
“It will allow us to demonstrate to our anchor institutions, our Fortune 500 companies, and other cutting-edge companies that are committed to Camden that Camden is taking the next step and that Camden can and will deliver on its promises,” she said.
Some of the 30 businesses moving to Camden that will benefit from the upgrades include Holtec International, Subaru, and the Philadelphia 76ers, who are building a new practice facility there.
According to PSE&G president and chief operating officer, Ralph LaRossa, Camden residents will also see an upside to the deal.
“Not only are we going to be bringing the [electrical] lines directly down into the business district,” said LaRossa, “but they’ll be bringing in redundancy and resiliency into the residential areas.”
PSE&G will front the money for the upgrades and recoup it from ratepayers over time.