Lagana-Johnson Bill Setting Up Hazard Mitigation Program Within NJIB Clears Budget Committee

disaster-emergency-fire-70573

Trenton – Legislation to establish a Community Hazard Assistance Mitigation Program (CHAMP) Revolving Loan Fund in the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank (NJIB) and authorize the issuance of bonds to fund certain hazard mitigation and resilience projects was released by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

 

The bill would direct the Office of Emergency Management, in consultation with the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, to develop a priority system for hazard mitigation and resilience projects and establish the ranking criteria and funding policies for the projects to be financed.

 

“As catastrophic climate-related events become more and more the norm, we need to utilize every tool available to help neighborhoods and businesses prepare for the worst,” said Senator Joe Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Financing projects that support flood mitigation and preparation for other natural disasters is money well spent. We can never be too prepared for the next severe weather calamity.”

 

Under current statutes, the NJIB is authorized to issue bonds to provide funding for environmental infrastructure and transportation infrastructure projects. This bill expands that to include the financing of hazard mitigation and resilience projects undertaken by State entities, local governments, and nonprofit organizations, in accordance with the provisions of the federal STORM Act and this bill.

 

“Hazard mitigation and resilience projects provide structural upgrades to prevent catastrophic weather damage, help preserve home values and create good-paying jobs in the building trades and design industries,” said Senator Johnson (D-Bergen). “This loan program is one straightforward thing we can do to help communities build better before the next major storm.”

 

The bill, S-3337, would also appropriate $500,000. It was released from committee by a vote of 12-0.