Details How State Will Utilize $1.46 Billion, Opens Public Comment Period
Trenton, NJ - The Christie Administration today unveiled a proposed amendment to the New Jersey Disaster Recovery Action Plan detailing how the state will spend $1.46 billion in federal Sandy recovery funds. The state will continue rebuilding Sandy-damaged homes and rental housing, supporting hardest hit and financially strained communities, while also financing infrastructure resiliency projects throughout New Jersey to protect the state from future storms. This is the second round of federal Community Disaster Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds allocated to New Jersey by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The Administration also opened a 30-day period for the public to comment on the state's proposed plan, which will run through March 5, 2014. The plan was developed in consultation with residents, elected officials, long-term recovery groups and other stakeholders in New Jersey, and will also incorporate feedback received during the public comment period.
"We've made a lot of progress in the 15 months since Sandy, and it's been a coordinated effort by my Administration, the Obama Administration, local governments and other recovery partners," said Governor Christie. "Nevertheless, there is still much to be done and substantial needs remain. These additional disaster relief funds will allow the state to expand the recovery initiatives and programs to assist Sandy-impacted residents, businesses and communities, and I am grateful to the Obama Administration for their ongoing support. My mission remains to ensure that everyone who was impacted by Sandy gets their lives back to normal, and I won't rest until that mission is complete."
Housing for those who lost their homes was the priority of the initial $1.83 billion of CDBG Disaster Recovery funds awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) last April. Because the state's housing needs remain substantial, the Christie Administration is proposing to spend a majority of the second round of CDBG Disaster Recovery funds to support homeowners and renters. Consistent with HUD requirements, the state will continue to prioritize funding in the nine counties most impacted counties as determined by HUD (Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union) and to assist low-to-moderate-income families and communities.
Furthermore, recognizing that Sandy's storm surge and flooding highlighted vulnerabilities in the state's transportation, energy, and water infrastructure systems, the plan proposes a $535 million investment in infrastructure. The proposed investment would include funding to create an energy bank to fund resiliency projects as well as a multi-faceted flood hazard risk reduction program. Additionally, funds would be made available to satisfy non-federal cost-share obligations (also known as match), including obligations for infrastructure-related recovery and resiliency projects.
"While we are thankful for the additional $1.46 billion in CDBG Disaster Recovery funding, we know that far more work and resources are required to address the critical needs of those affected by Sandy. We will continue to work with all of our partners to deliver this aid quickly, transparently, and with a focus on durability for future disasters," said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard E. Constable III, whose department administers the distribution of CDBG Disaster Recovery funds for the state. "For this reason, we have sought input from residents, stakeholders and elected officials and look forward to hearing what the public has to say about the proposed plan."
For the second allocation, the state is proposing to spend $735 million on housing assistance programs, of which $450 million is projected to assist low-to-moderate-income families. The second proposed plan calls for:
Additionally, the proposed plan would commit $535 million to the following infrastructure programs:
Finally, the state is proposing to continue to support existing economic development and local government support programs that are vital to local recovery efforts:
CDBG Disaster Recovery funds are intended to support local rebuilding efforts after private insurance, FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), or other available sources of funds have been applied. HUD also requires that 50% of the funding focus on low-to-moderate-income households. In New Jersey, HUD further mandates that 80% of the CDBG Disaster Recovery dollars be spent in the nine most storm-impacted and distressed communities, which include Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union counties.
The Christie Administration opened a 30-day period through March 5, 2014 for the public to comment on the amendment to the Action Plan. The proposed plan may be obtained in English and Spanish at http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/sandyrecovery/action/ on the DCA's website. Written comments to the proposed plan can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or can be provided by mail to the attention of Gabrielle Gallagher, NJ Department of Community Affairs, 101 South Broad Street, Post Office Box 800, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0800. All comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. on March 5, 2014.
The state plans to hold three public hearings to solicit public comment on the proposed plan. The dates, times and locations of the public hearings are: