State Owes an Explanation on HUD Resilience Competition Application

PATERSON, NJ – February 1, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — ​State lost out on North Jersey projects totaling over $300 million

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) responded to today to the release of Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant funding for the National Disaster Resiliency Competition (NDRC). According to HUD Secretary Julián Castro, New Jersey was only able to secure $15 million in grant funding, missing out on over $300 million in flood relief project funding for North Jersey.

“The State owes an explanation as to why we got the short changed here,” Rep. Pascrell said. “After I fought to have New Jersey included in this round of funding, my constituents deserve answers. Secretary Castro said there were several feedback mechanisms to help improve New Jersey’s application, yet somehow the final application looked darn close to the original. I really hope that New Jersey did not drop the ball.”

New York was awarded over $200 million in NDRC funding, and only 13 winners in total divvied up the $1 billion funding pool. New Jersey’s application for the NRC funding identified flooding in riverine and coastal communities as New Jersey’s greatest risk.

The application included pilot projects for flood protection in areas impacted by Superstorm Sandy, specifically in and around Carlstadt, East Rutherford, Hackensack, Hasbrouck Heights, Little Ferry, Moonachie, Rutherford, South Hackensack, Teterboro, and Wood-Ridge.

The $1 billion in NDRC aid is part of the $3.6 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, the third round of funding for Superstorm Sandy relief. New Jersey received $1.83 billion in the first round and $1.46 billion in the second round of funding.

“The residents who live in the Meadowlands region deserve a better defense against future disasters,” Pascrell said. “There seemed to be major deficiencies in the State’s final application. Maybe the Governor did not want to open the State’s coffers, but not leveraging state funding for these projects is foolish and put us at a disadvantage.”

“Additionally, the state should have segmented the projects into individual phases. If they had done that, at least part of the projects may have been greenlighted,” Pascrell said. “They went all-or-nothing on these projects and got nothing.”

According to the application submitted to HUD by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) last year, there were only a few projects proposed by New Jersey for consideration under the NDRC program, including two major projects that were not funded:

• Expand the proposed Rebuild by Design berm from the edge of Hackensack at Route 80 down to the eastern border of East Rutherford, and along the southern border (Route 3) of East Rutherford, into Rutherford and build pumping stations to address rainwater events as well as steps to begin addressing storm water management. ($236 million, proposed)

• Building a satellite bus garage in the Meadowlands Service Area. ($75 million, proposed)

In 2014, Rep. Pascrell fought to stop an attempt to redirect the $1 billion in NDRC aid to states that were not affected by the storm. He sent a letter to HUD Secretary Shawn Donovan urging HUD to allow the areas most affected by the superstorm to compete for the NRC grants.

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