TRENTON – Senator Bob Gordon, Assemblyman Tim Eustace and Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (all D-Bergen/Passaic) today hailed the Governor’s announcement that $300 million in federal funding will be used to buy out Sandy-affected properties as well as repetitively flood-damaged homes in the Passaic River Basin, but said that relief is needed for residents in flood-prone areas statewide.
The 38th district legislators are the sponsors of legislation (S1919/A2930), designated as the “Blue Acres Floodplain Protection Bond Act of 2012,” which would allow voters to authorize bonds for $100 million for the purchase of flood-prone property.
Senator Bob Gordon:
“The announcement that federal funding will be used for buyouts of properties battered by Hurricane Sandy as well as those in other flood-prone areas is good news for the state. But if Sandy taught us anything, it is that 100-year-storms are occurring far more frequently and in order to protect the safety of our residents, we need to take steps to safeguard against future storms statewide. That means looking at additional federal sources of funding for buyouts across the state. Absent federal assistance, we need to ensure that we have a long-term funding mechanism for the Blue Acres program so that willing sellers in areas plagued by chronic flood problems finally get the relief they need. The fact is, in communities such as Lodi, Saddle Brook, New Milford and Rochelle Park, residents will be forced to undergo the cycle of flooding, evacuation and property destruction on a near-annual basis without assistance.”
Assemblyman Tim Eustace:
“The governor has announced $300 million in federal funding to buy out 1,000 flood-prone properties from owners living in Sandy-affected areas, and 300 additional properties in the state. This is great news for residents in these areas. As we undertake this process, we must also work to provide relief to homeowners in other flood-prone parts of the state who are living in areas that place their properties and their families’ safety at risk. If federal funding is not available, we must begin a serious discussion about reauthorizing funding for the Blue Acres program. Legislation we are sponsoring would allow voters to decide on an additional $100 million for the purchase of flood-prone land in New Jersey – this measure should be a starting point for our discussions.”
Assemblywoman Connie Wagner:
“Bergen County residents are beset by flood problems that result in damage and destruction to their homes with each storm that hits. While the funding announced today is great news, we need to ensure residents in flood-prone areas across the state no longer have to deal with the torment caused by constant flooding. We are sponsoring legislation that would replenish state funding for the purchase of properties in flood-prone areas across New Jersey, which without additional federal dollars will be critical to ensuring that residents suffering from continuous flooding no longer are forced to live in harm’s way.”