WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), a main architect of the Senate’s Sandy emergency supplemental funding bill, today announced passage of a $50.5 billion bill to help residents, homeowners, businesses, and local governments affected by Superstorm Sandy. As Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction over funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Lautenberg worked to ensure the federal funding can be used to not only rebuild, but strengthen New Jersey’s beaches, transportation systems, and other infrastructure so that future damage can be avoided. The legislation will now be sent to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature. During the last Congress, the Senate passed an emergency aid bill, but House Speaker Boehner delayed a vote on the companion House legislation until January 15th. Today, the Senate passed the House-revised bill, and it will now go to President Obama for his signature. Congress previously passed and the President signed into law a $9.7 billion flood insurance measure that was originally part of the bill the Senate passed in December, bringing the Sandy federal aid total to more than $60 billion. “Today’s action in the Senate is a breakthrough for our region and victims of Superstorm Sandy who will at long last get the federal resources they need to recover and rebuild,” said Senator Lautenberg. “While this package is overdue because of needless delay from House Republican leadership, we have finally come together and made a national commitment to provide families, businesses and communities with aid to come back even stronger. New Jersey was devastated by this terrible storm and this legislation will help rebuild homes, businesses, and public infrastructure whilestrengthening our shore and transportation network for future extreme weather events.” Sen. Lautenberg worked to include a number of funding components in the bill that will help New Jersey, including: Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) – The bill provides $16 billion in CDBG funding, which is the single largest appropriation of CDBG funding. CDBG funding can be used for a number of purposes, including: · Support for damage not covered by FEMA, the Small Business Administration, or insurance; · Federal grants for rebuilding destroyed homes and repairing damage; · Federal grants to support small businesses; · Rebuilding various types of public infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and buildings; · Improving utilities’ power infrastructure; and · Buying out or elevating homes. Army Corps of Engineers – The bill provides $5.3 billion total for Army Corps flood control and beach replenishment projects, including $2.9 billion specifically for affected areas along the Atlantic Coast to build projects to protect against future storms, and $1 billion to repair or improve flood control projects above and beyond pre-storm conditions. Typically the Army Corps is allowed to merely repair damage, not improve projects. Senator Lautenberg fought to ensure New Jersey’s first line of protection from storms would be strengthened. Transportation – The bill provides $13 billion total for transportation programs, including: · $10.9 billion for public transportation repairs and mitigation efforts to strengthen and improve NJ Transit and Port Authority infrastructure; · $2 billion for highway repairs; and · $118 million to help Amtrak make repairs and take action to mitigate future storm-related problems and advance a new system of redundancy for when a tunnel experiences flooding. Clean Water Infrastructure –The bill provides $600 million to repair and improve clean water infrastructure, including New Jersey water treatment plants like the Passaic Valley Water Commission and the Middlesex County Utilities Authority, which sustained major damage during Superstorm Sandy. Health and Education –The bill provides $800 million for hospitals, health centers, and educational services, including: · $500 million for health and social services, including repairing health care and child services facilities; · $100 million for Head Start to repair its facilities and replace damaged equipment; and · $200 million to support health services and medical research by replacing scientific equipment, restarting clinical trials, and rebuilding labs of researchers and universities. NOAA and Coast Guard – The bill provides funding to repair NOAA facilities, including the Sandy Hook lab, and to repair Coast Guard infrastructure and assets in New Jersey damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Toxic Superfund Sites – The bill provides $2 million to repair damage at Superfund sites, including Raritan Bay Slag, Atlantic Resources in Sayreville, and Horseshoe Road in Sayreville. ###
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