WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today announced more than $1.4 million in federal disaster relief funding to help New Jersey communities in Atlantic and Passaic counties damaged by Hurricane Irene. The funding is provided by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to help local economies recover and become more resilient following natural disasters. This federal funding will help rebuild flood protection infrastructure in Atlantic City that was damaged by Hurricane Irene, and will allow Passaic County to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to restore the region’s economy and make it less vulnerable to future natural disasters. “Hurricane Irene caused massive destruction for families and businesses in New Jersey, and many communities are still working to repair infrastructure, spur business growth, and create jobs,” said Senator Lautenberg. “When disaster strikes, we continue working with communities until the job of rebuilding is finished and residents are back on their feet. This funding affirms our commitment to helping those in need whenever disasters occur.” “These storms have placed a huge burden on our communities and revitalizing our infrastructure is a key step we must take in New Jersey’s ongoing recovery,” said Senator Menendez. “These investments are critical to ensuring that all of our local communities — both large and small — can not only build back, but build back better and stronger than before.” The following grants were announced today: Atlantic City: $1,130,000 to rehabilitate and replace antiquated infrastructure in the Atlantis Avenue Flood Gate System and bulkhead in Atlantic City, which sustained major flood damages from Hurricane Irene. The city’s two major access roads, the Atlantic City Expressway and U.S. Route 30, were both flooded during the Hurricane and rendered the city inaccessible for extended periods of time resulting in loss of billions of dollars in gaming, hospitality and tourism-related services in New Jersey’s primary tourism destination. The restoration of the infrastructure is a critical element in Atlantic City’s ongoing revitalization and post-Irene economic recovery, and will help to reestablish and maintain economic viability and mitigate future flooding. Passaic County: $280,000 to develop and implement the Passaic County Disaster Assessment and Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), focusing on the municipalities of Little Falls, Paterson, Passaic, Pompton Lakes, Totowa, and Wayne. The CEDS will assess the region’s critical infrastructure, demographics, and overall economic state following the flooding and storms of 2011. The project will also incorporate disaster resiliency planning to address future natural disasters. The CEDS process is designed to bring together the region’s public and private sectors in the creation of an economic development roadmap to diversify and strengthen the regional economy. In November 2011, Congress approved $2.6 billion to support response and rehabilitation efforts following Hurricane Irene and other disasters. Senator Lautenberg led the fight to increase funding for EDA disaster relief grants, which are the source of the funding announced today, to $200 million. ###
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