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Vitale Bill To Fund Flood Control Efforts In Sayerville Advances In Committee

Measure Would Provide More Than $1 Million for Flood Mitigation on the South River

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Joseph F. Vitale which would provide over $1 million for flood control and prevention projects to mitigate the periodic flooding of the South River in Sayerville was approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today by a vote of 7-4, with one abstention.

“The people of Sayerville have had to put up with regular flooding along the South River for decades, and the ensuing property damage, traffic headaches and other problems that come along with it,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “Under this bill, we can take steps to get the ball rolling on flood control projects which will help mitigate the impact of flooding on Sayerville residents’ property and livelihood. It’s time for the State to step up and lend a helping hand to improve the quality of life in Sayerville after and during a major storm.”

The bill, S-2445, would provide $1,047,000 to the Department of Environmental Protection to initiate and support flood control programs of the South River, which often floods after storm events. The funding would be provided from the “Dam, Lake, Stream, Flood Control, Water Resources, and Wastewater Treatment Project Bond Act of 2003,” and would not have an impact on the State’s General Fund. According to Senator Vitale, heavy flooding has occurred regularly in Sayerville since the early 1990s, causing considerable property damage and constant consternation for those living and working in the river’s flood hazard area.

Efforts to obtain federal funding to address the flooding of the South River have been hampered by the fact that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers typically requires between five and ten years to commence and complete a federal flood control project. By providing State support for flood control, Senator Vitale said that we can provide quicker relief to the families and individuals who are affected by the regular flooding.

“While I remain hopeful that we’ll be able to get federal funding to alleviate this problem, Sayerville residents can’t wait another five to ten years for relief,” said Senator Vitale. “This bill would provide flood control funding today, without impacting the State’s bottom line, while still leaving the door open for federal assistance down the road. It will make a big difference in my legislative district, and will help local residents avoid the hassles they face whenever the South River floods.”

The bill was approved by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee by a vote of 4-0 in August, and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.