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Gordon Announces Hearing on State’s Failed Application for Post-Sandy Flood Protection Funding

Senator Bob Gordon, D-Bergen, speaks at a Budget Committee meeting in support of his bill to provide flood control funding for Bergen County.

 TRENTON – Senator Bob Gordon today announced that the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee will hold a hearing Thursday to discuss the state’s application for federal flood protection funding that resulted in the state securing only $15 million of the more than $300 million requested. The application was submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for part of $1 billion made available to states through a competitive process for flood-mitigation funding. New York received over $200 million.

“New Jersey’s storm protection needs are significant, and particularly in a post-Sandy era we need to do all we can to obtain available federal funding. The fact that we secured such a small amount of money compared to our neighbors in New York is concerning,” said Senator Gordon (D-Bergen/Passaic), chair of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee. “We need to understand the process undertaken by the state to determine why certain flood protection projects were included in the application to the federal government, and how the application was prepared. There is no doubt that we are in desperate need of protection against future storm events and that should have been reflected in the final award of federal money. We need to know exactly what went wrong during this process.”

New Jersey requested over $300 million in relief funding for projects including the construction of a berm, water pumping stations, and various restoration and flood mitigation projects in the Meadowlands, as well as a NJ Transit bus garage. The State’s application in the National Disaster Resilience Competition received a very low score, and New Jersey subsequently received only $15 million in federal funding. The committee will examine the process to get a better understanding of why New Jersey was awarded such a small portion of the available funds, particularly in light of the receipt of over $212 million between New York City and State of New York. The committee will also address HUD Secretary Julian Castro’s statement that NJ “submitted a weaker application on several measures.”

The Senate Legislative Oversight Committee will meet on Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM in Committee Room 4, 1st Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, New Jersey.