When President-elect Joe Biden becomes chief executive at the beginning of next year, what will it mean for the economy in the Garden State?

According to Rutgers University economics professor James Hughes, having Biden in the White House should mean the long-stalled Gateway Project, which calls for building new rail tunnels under the Hudson River into Manhattan, will get the go-ahead, which is good news for New Jersey.

“The existing tunnels are well over a century old, so that is a critical part of our regional economy and certainly Biden would be in favor of moving forward on that," he said.

Hughes pointed out having Biden as President may also result in lifting the SALT cap signed into law by President Trump to limit state and local tax deductions to $10,000. Hughes said the SALT cap hurt many Garden State families who pay high local taxes.

"If that deduction goes back in with the Biden administration, that’s certainly going to help New Jersey and other high-income blue states," he said.

Biden’s plan to increase income taxes on those making $400,000 a year will help to pay for infrastructure upgrades, Hughes said.

“Those investments are desperately needed in New Jersey,” he said. “These would involve transportation, broadband, green energy and the like."

Ben Dworkin, the director of the Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship at Rowan University, said when Biden takes over as president he will likely press ahead with plans to deliver a second stimulus package that would include money for state governments.

He said this is important because “the state has been struggling just to meet its obligations and to take care of the needs of the people.”

Dworkin said this kind of financial support “would make a huge difference. I think there’s much more potential with that right now than there was before.”

He pointed out because the president-elect is from Delaware, a state that neighbors New Jersey, Biden has a keen appreciation of the challenges facing the Garden State.

Hughes said a second stimulus package is essential for New Jerseyans who lost their jobs because of the pandemic.

He noted financial assistance for many small businesses in New Jersey that were forced to shut down in the spring, including restaurants, would also be provided in a second stimulus package.

Hughes said how much President Biden would be able to accomplish will depend to a certain degree on which political party winds up controlling the U.S. Senate. It currently remains in Republican hands. But a run-off election in January for the two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia, if won by the Democratic challengers, would give Biden's party 50 votes in the chamber, allowing Vice President Kamala Harris to break a tie.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com