JOINS SENATOR SWEENEY TO PROMOTE PUBLIC SAFETY AND
WATER RESOURCE PROTECTION
Ballot Question Provides Loan Funding for Flood Control
and Dam Repairs
(03/160) GREENWICH - New
Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner
Bradley M. Campbell, Senator Stephen M. Sweeney and Assemblymen
John Burzichelli and Douglas Fisher today announced that
the Repaupo Tide Gate Levee qualifies for funding from proposed
new dam repair and flood control bonding. If voters approve
Ballot Question No. 3 on the November 4 referendum, the
levee will be eligible for funding under the "Dam,
Lake, Stream, Flood Control, Water Resources, and Wastewater
Treatment Project Bond Act of 2003."
"Government has no obligation more
fundamental than the safety and well-being of our citizens,"
said Commissioner Campbell. "New Jersey must fund repairs
of our dams and other flood control projects now to prevent
costly and catastrophic disasters in the future. In November,
citizens will have an opportunity to vote for an ounce of
prevention now through Ballot Question No. 3 rather than
a pound of cure later."
In August, Governor James E. McGreevey
signed legislation authorizing a ballot referendum for $150
million in bonds to help repair dams that pose threats to
public safety as well as to promote dredging, stream restoration,
and flood control projects. The bill, S2182, also proposes
an additional $50 million in bonds for state-authorized
loans financing wastewater treatment and water resource
projects that would provide vital improvements to water
quality. Senator Sweeney co-sponsored the bill, which passed
the Legislature unanimously.
"I urge the voters in the 3rd District
and statewide to support Ballot Questions 1, 2 and 3,"
said Senator Stephen M. Sweeney. "There are many projects
in our district that would finally be eligible for funding
under Ballot Question #3 that otherwise have not been eligible
Sweeney said that in addition to the Repaupo
Tide Gate Levee, other dams in the 3rd District would be
eligible for funding if voters approve the referendum.
The Townships of Logan and Greenwich have
been trying unsuccessfully for five years to gain federal
funding through the U.S. Army Corps or other agencies. This
funding is needed for repairs to the Repaupo Tide Gate Levee
and sluice gates. A failure of the levee would not only
impact Logan and Greenwich, but also the adjoining municipalities
of Paulsboro, Mantua, Harrison and Woolwich.
"The ramifications of failing to fund
the repairs of these projects in our district could be devastating,"
Assemblyman Burzichelli. "Every storm
warning, hurricane and high tide is a threat to this tide
gate levee and our sluice gates. There have been patchwork
remedies to keep this from failing, but it is time for large
scale repairs and the funding could come from the passage
of Ballot Question #3."
Assemblyman Doug Fisher said that educating
the voters on the ballot questions was essential to their
passage. "We are here today because we co-sponsored
Ballot Question #3 in the Legislature because it is so vitally
important to our district," he added. "We are
also here today because we want the public to be aware and
informed about the ballot questions they will see at the
polls in a week."
One of the Bond Act's top priorities is
to help communities address potential flooding problems,
through $25 million in financing for state flood control
projects for communities and businesses lying in or near
If voters approve the Bond Act through
Ballot Question No. 3, DEP would also be authorized to spend
$15 million from the bond funding directly on restoration
and repair of state-owned dams. Additionally, the DEP would
be able to issue up to $95 million in loans for the restoration
of private and municipal dams that pose threats to public
safety. Lake associations and private dam owners seeking
loans must apply as a co-borrower with a county or municipality
to ensure that the projects are necessary for public safety.
In New Jersey, the Safe Dam Act makes dam
owners responsible for the safety and security of their
structures, under the oversight of the Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP). This Bond Act creates a comprehensive
mechanism for funding dam restoration, rectifying the significant
public safety hazard created by dam owners' maintenance
lapses due to a lack of resources.
There are 185 high hazard dams in New Jersey,
47 of which the state has determined are in need of repairs
to address specific deficiencies. The state estimates that
these dams require at least $33 million in repairs. In addition,
there are 314 significant hazard dams that are in need of
some level of repairs.
The Bond Act also provides $15 million
for loans and grants for much needed efforts to improve
the water quality and health of New Jersey's lakes and streams
through dredging and restoration projects, as well as stream
In addition to the focus on dams and flood
control, the Bond Act also provides $50 million in bonds
for the DEP and the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure
Trust (EIT) to issue loans to finance wastewater treatment
and water resource projects. These projects may include
infrastructure improvements such as sewage treatment projects
to reduce pollutant impacts from sewerage discharge and
construction of water supply interconnections and transfers
to help reduce shortages during future droughts.