Middlesex County showing how county-led parking division is good for all

County’s strong AAA bond rating allows Improvement Authority to obtain financing at historically low interest rates, enabling major capital ventures to be undertaken

Since its formation was announced in 2019, the Middlesex County Improvement Authority has successfully pivoted its focus from general county services to primarily economic development, leveraging its unique ability to bond and finance projects.

With Middlesex County’s strong AAA bond rating, secured for the past 21 consecutive years, the MCIA obtains financing at historically low interest rates, allowing major capital ventures to be undertaken.

For those reasons, the board voted this summer to expand its services by creating a Division of Parking, which will serve as a new revenue-generating function — consistent with the evolution of the MCIA as a financial engine of the county as it dovetails with the overall vision of Destination 2040, the county’s strategic economic plan.

Middlesex County officials said the newly created Division of Parking will produce revenue that will fund and enable ongoing and future economic development initiatives throughout the county.

It is anticipated that the MCIA will own, finance, maintain and manage the parking deck, featuring nine floors and a total of 975 parking spots, at the new Cancer Pavilion of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

The parking deck is estimated to cost $60 million, would be deeded to the MCIA and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2024. Parking services would be available to patients, visitors, employees and the general public.

“As the redevelopment entity for the Cancer Pavilion, this is the right opportunity for the MCIA to capitalize on its unique ability to bond and finance projects and create a revenue stream, which will enable further investments in economic growth initiatives,” MCIA Chairman James Nolan said.

The Cancer Pavilion parking deck is just the first of many potential projects.

The new division of parking also will be charged with managing and maintaining the parking structure to be constructed as part of the North Brunswick Train Station development.

The MCIA also is working towards purchasing a newly built parking facility in Carteret, which will serve the Carteret Performing Arts & Events Center and forthcoming residential community and ferry port development.

MCIA Executive Director H. James Polos said increasing the number of parking decks will increase the division’s revenue.

“As we progress with these projects, this regional approach to managing and maintaining these parking facilities will help reduce the costs associated with maintenance and operations overall, which makes this a win for our municipalities and customers,” he said.

Ron Rios, the director of the board of county commissioners, said the progress is great for all.

“The MCIA’s journey as the financial powerhouse of the county started more than two years ago,” he said. “Today, it continues to streamline and hone its focus on areas that will bring greater prosperity to our residents and businesses.”

Nolan agreed.

“We are excited to serve as the catalyst for these regional economic development projects,” he said. “With the county’s steadfast backing, we will continue to develop a professional staff with deep and collective experience to ensure quality, timeliness and cost-efficiency.

“As Middlesex County continues to grow and become a premier destination, these projects will create jobs, produce new tax ratables to boost our local economy and provide critically needed services to our community.”