RELEASE: Gottheimer, Pascrell Commemorate Tenth Anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. Clawing Back Federal Investment to Jersey for Natural Disaster Preparation, Infrastructure, First Responders

Oct 28, 2022
Press

LODI, NJ

Clawing Back Federal Investment to Jersey for Natural Disaster Preparation, Infrastructure, First Responders

Gottheimer Helped Craft and Pass Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill to Improve Water Infrastructure, Climate Resiliency

Passed Inflation Reduction Act to Address Climate Change

Above: Gottheimer in Lodi to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.

LODI, NJ — Today, October 28, 2022, U.S. Congressmen Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9) joined together with local leaders and the North Jersey community to remember the devastating impact Superstorm Sandy wreaked on our state and families ten years ago. Superstorm Sandy took more than 100 lives, including 40 souls in New Jersey. More than 300,000 homes were destroyed or damaged, businesses were lost, and roads and bridges crumbled. In total, New Jersey suffered more than $30 billion in damage.

Gottheimer announced new steps taken to better prepare Jersey for generations to come and ensure our communities and infrastructure are resilient and ready for future storms.

“We will never forget those who perished during Superstorm Sandy and the storm’s impact on New Jersey. Looking back, it’s hard to comprehend the magnitude of the devastation. What was clear was that, because of our brave police, firefighters, EMTs, and servicemembers, countless lives were saved during Sandy. Our heroes who ran toward danger. It’s just one of the many reasons we must always get your backs,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “After the way Sandy, Ida, and so many other intense storms have hit our communities, it’s clear that we must do better — to be prepared, to protect our infrastructure, and to respond and recover. We must be prepared for the intense impact the changing climate is having on our communities here — storms, flooding, erosion, rising water levels.” 

New federal investment clawed back from Washington for natural disaster preparation, infrastructure, and first responders includes:

  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill— which Gottheimer helped craft and pass — to invest in climate and storm resiliency to deal with the flooding, fires, and storms, and help protect against droughts, heat, floods, and wildfires, in addition to a major investment in weatherization. It also will help repair our crumbling roads, bridges, rails, and our public transit, and makes significant investments in water systems, broadband connectivity, and electric vehicle chargers. The North River Tunnel, which connects 20% of the nation’s GDP between New York and New Jersey, is 113 years old and flooded during Sandy — resulting in serious damage. Investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill are helping build the new Gateway Train Tunnel and Portal North Bridge, to alleviate our reliance on the North River Tunnel.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act — which Gottheimer helped pass, makes critical, commonsense climate investments. As part of an All-of-the-Above energy plan, this legislation also makes investments in clean energy and will help cut down greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change.
  • More of our federal tax dollars coming back to North Jersey communities and first responders to help us here — The federal Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) equipment program, Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG), and Staffing For Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants help ensure our first responders have what they need to keep our communities safe. Gottheimer helped many of our communities claw back resources for high-water vehicles, ambulances, and more. This year, the Fifth District clawed back more than $1.6 million in Assistance to Firefighters Grants — a critical resource that will help equip our firefighters with Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses, turnout gear, and more. Since Gottheimer took office, New Jersey’s Fifth District has clawed 357% more federal tax dollars back from Washington and the Moocher States, helping to lower our property taxes and make life more affordable and safer.

Gottheimer was joined today in Lodi by Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9), Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco, Lodi Mayor Scott Luna, Lodi Deputy Mayor Vincent Martin, Lodi Councilman Albert DiChiara, Executive Director of the NJ Organizing Project Amanda Devecka-Rinear, Felician University President Retired Vice Admiral James W. Crawford, III, Felician University Vice President External Relations Maura DeNicola, Lodi Boys and Girls Club Director Joseph Licata.

Video of the announcement can be found here.

Below: Gottheimer in Lodi to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.

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Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

I’d like to thank everyone here today for joining us as we remember the devastating impact Superstorm Sandy wreaked on our state and families ten years ago, including right here in Lodi. 

Sandy took more than a hundred lives, including forty souls right here in New Jersey. Homes destroyed. Businesses lost. Roads and bridges crumbled. Our state suffered more than $30 billion in damage. 

We will never forget those who perished. Looking back, it’s hard to comprehend the magnitude of the devastation. As Scripture says, we look through glass darkly. 

What was clear was that, because of our brave police, firefighters, EMTs, and servicemembers, countless lives were saved during Sandy. Our heroes who ran toward danger. It’s just one of the many reasons we must always get your backs.

After the way Sandy, Ida, and so many other intense storms have hit our communities, it’s clear that we must do better — to be prepared, to protect our infrastructure, and to respond and recover. We must be prepared for the intense impact the changing climate is having on our communities here — storms, flooding, erosion, rising water levels. 

It’s something I hear about regularly from nearly every mayor in my District. And across our state, we’re seeing it at the Jersey Shore, not to mention the fires, hurricanes, and tornadoes and other intense weather events around our country. 

Following Superstorm Sandy, Congress moved to support the more than 300,000 homes that were destroyed by historic levels of flooding. Now, I’m excited to announce new steps we’ve taken to better prepare Jersey for generations to come and ensure our communities and infrastructure are resilient and ready for storms that may come our way. 

It’s clear that our changing climate is making these storms worse. We must focus on investing in climate resilient infrastructure for our North Jersey towns and boroughs that need it most. That is one of the reasons I fought so hard to shape and pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. Our once-in-a-century legislation includes investments for beefing up our climate and storm resiliency to deal with the flooding, fires, and storms — resources that are clearly needed here in North Jersey. It will help protect against droughts, heat, floods, and wildfires, in addition to a major investment in weatherization. 

The legislation also provides much-needed investments to repair our crumbling roads, bridges, and rails, and our public transit. It makes significant investments in water systems, broadband connectivity, electric vehicle chargers, and so much more. 

Now, after working to get critical legislation signed into law — with votes of support from Members like my good friend, Congressman Pascrell — Jersey will have what it needs to not just fix our roads and bridges, but to ensure they’re being built with the drainage, strength, and resilience to stand up against the storms we’re facing. 

We can’t underestimate just how critical these historic investments are when it comes to our infrastructure being able to withstand the changing climate. 

In Jersey, we have the third-worst roads in the nation; more than 500 of our state’s bridges are structurally deficient — a third are in desperate need of repair. New Jersey’s public transit has been ranked the worst in the nation based on the number of annual break-downs, causing endless delays and frustration for our families. Not to mention, people are paying extra every year to fix their cars due to damage from potholes and other road issues which have been exacerbated by storms.

The North River Tunnel which connects 20 percent of the nation’s GDP between New York and New Jersey is 113 years old and flooded during Sandy — resulting in serious damage, corroding concrete, exposed cables, and crumbling walls. But now, because of these investments, shovels are in the ground building the new Portal North Bridge, as part of the Gateway Train Tunnel project, alleviating our reliance on this crumbling old infrastructure.

But we didn’t stop with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. To address climate change, just months ago, we enacted the historic Inflation Reduction Act to make critical, commonsense climate investments. As part of an All-of-the-Above energy plan, it makes significant investments in clean energy and will help cut down greenhouse gas emissions.

The Inflation Reduction Act does not raise taxes one penny on families or small businesses in our district and will lower prescription drug prices, especially for seniors, cap annual out-of-pocket prescription costs at $2,000 under Medicare, cap the cost of insulin at $35-per-month for Medicare, and provide support for families struggling with the high cost of health insurance. It will also create jobs.

To further make sure our towns are prepared, I’ve also been laser focused on clawing federal resources and grants back to local police, firefighters, and EMS departments to better equip them for when major storms strike. By working with mayors, councils, first responders, and so many dedicated members of our community, we’ve brought great resources back to the Fifth District that have saved lives. 

Let me give you a few real world examples of how these grant dollars helped just recently. 

After Hurricane Ida devastated so many of our towns, several of our communities utilized the high water vehicles they received from the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) equipment program to reach people. Others utilized ambulances from the FEMA AFG (Assistance to Firefighters Grant) to transport and save the lives of those who were injured; and many fire and EMS departments are better staffed thanks to the Staffing For Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants — staff who went on to literally save those from being swept away after they fell through collapsed bridges or washed-out roads. 

This year, with my office’s help, the Fifth District clawed back more than $1.6 million in Assistance to Firefighters grants — a critical resource that will help equip our firefighters with Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses, turn out gear, and more.

For New Jersey and the generations to come, we must continue to take action that helps better prepare us to face hurricanes, address climate change, and ensure our first responders always have what they need to keep us safe, so that our best days will always be ahead of us. 

God bless you and your families. God bless our troops, and may God continue to bless the United States of America. Thank you.

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