Senator John A. Girgenti (D-35) of Hawthorne released a statement today on the “Emergency Transportation and Water Infrastructure Recovery Bond Act of 2011”:
“I am proud to be a sponsor of this important piece of legislation. Many of the municipalities in the 35th District and throughout the entire State were devastated by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Roads and sewer systems have been severely damaged; in some towns, entire infrastructures have been unable to function,” said Girgenti, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee. “My hometown of Hawthorne saw massive flooding of the brook that runs through the town, and along the banks of the Passaic River. The flooding and damage in the City of Paterson was unlike any seen in recent history. It is truly heart-wrenching and painful to see your municipalities suffering knowing that, in that moment, there is nothing you can do for them in the face of absolute devastation. This Recovery Bond Act is a first step forward in rebuilding, and a much needed one. The government of New Jersey will begin to address the infrastructure problems our towns are facing.”
Sponsored by Senator Gordon (D-38) of Fair Lawn and Senator Girgenti, the “Emergency Transportation and Water Infrastructure Recovery Bond Act of 2011” passed the Senate yesterday, and its Assembly counterpart is pending in the Appropriations Committee.
The legislation will authorize New Jersey to issue State general obligation bonds in the amount of $100,000,000 to be granted to localities and counties affected by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee during the months of August and September of this year. Of the total $100,000,000 in the Recovery Bond Act, $50,000,000 will be dispersed through grants to counties and $50,000,000 will be dispersed through grants to municipalities. The Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Protection will establish the criteria for eligibility within their respective jurisdictions and procedures for reviewing applications made by counties and municipalities. The Commissioners of the DOT and the DEP will prepare a list of projects based on priority, which will then be submitted to the Legislature for appropriation of funding for the project.
“In the aftermath of the storms, it was humbling to see New Jerseyans come together in the spirit of community to help our neighbors in need, through donations and volunteering. Our first responders and National Guard members were on call 24/7 before, during, and after the storm, risking their lives to save our lives during the worst parts of that weekend. This should give us great hope in the face of adversity, and their example should impart onto all of us a true meaning of public service. It is the responsibility of elected officials of New Jersey to heed that call to public service. We must do what we can to aid our municipalities in rebuilding their infrastructure. It is our responsibility as elected officials of New Jersey to provide a starting point and process for our municipalities to receive funding to advance infrastructure projects that are needed. The fact of the matter is our constituents and municipalities need assistance and partnership from the State, without delay. That is why I am a sponsor of the ‘Emergency Transportation and Water Infrastructure Recovery Bond Act of 2011’. This bill will do more than simply provide funding. It is a statement to our counties and municipalities that New Jersey stands ready to take responsible action. It is time for New Jersey to step up to the plate and assist in their recovery.”