PATERSON, NJ - Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08), and Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today hailed the signing of a Feasibility Cost-Sharing Agreement between the Army Corps of Engineers and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection that will allow Phase 1 of the Passaic River Mainstem study to proceed.
"For far too long the residents of the Passaic River Basin have searched for a long term solution to the annual cycle of flooding and destruction that has plagued this region. I am hopeful that this study will bring the state, federal government and municipalities together to find a comprehensive solution to the flooding," said Rep. Pascrell, a former member of the House Water Resources Subcommittee who has made flood mitigation and management a priority.
"This is a crucial step in the effort to find a long-term solution to prevent flooding in the Passaic River Basin ," said Senator Lautenberg, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, which funds the Army Corps of Engineers. "Families in the region have suffered for years and I will continue to work to provide federal funding to support this project."
“This agreement is a critical step toward finding and implementing a long-term solution to the flooding that continues to wreak havoc in these communities,” said Senator Menendez, who personally requested President Obama provide federal funding for the Reevaluation Study when they toured the region after Hurricane Irene.
Rep. Pascrell and Senators Lautenberg and Menendez previously requested and succeeded in securing $1 million dollars in the President's FY2013 Budget towards this study, which was included in the report of Governor Christie's Passaic River Basin Flood Advisory Commission. The House of Representatives approved legislation last month fully funding this request. The Senate version of the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill also includes the $1 million in federal funding for this study. Final approval for this funding, combined with $250,000 previously appropriated, would fulfill the federal government's 50/50 cost share towards the $2.4 million total cost of Phase 1 of the study. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will provide the local match.
Most recently, the federal legislators secured $6,569,525.50 in FEMA funding for voluntary buyouts of 41 properties in areas of Paterson , and Pompton Lakes that were affected by flooding during the past year. The Congressman and Senators had previously secured $3.1 million to Pompton Lakes for voluntary buyouts of approximately 13 homes, $6.3 million for approximately 56 homes in Wayne , and $2.9 million for approximately 15 homes in Little Falls. This funding followed a nearly $20 million award to the town of Wayne to buy out 72 homes, the largest award in the history of the State.