Lautenberg And Menendez Urge President To Send Federal Aid To NJ For Flood Relief

Lautenberg And Menendez Urge President To Send Federal Aid To NJ For Flood Relief

Senators and House Delegation Issue Second Letter to President, Urge Bush to Answer Acting Governor's Request for Federal Aid

Washington - U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today sent a second letter to President Bush urging him to issue a disaster declaration for New Jersey to help combat rampant flooding and other damage from the recent storm that has ravaged the state.

Once the President issues an official federal disaster declaration, local governments are eligible to receive federal grants for repairing bridges, roads, and schools. State residents also can apply for federal assistance to help with necessary home repairs as a result of flood damage.

Sen. Lautenberg, Sen. Menendez, and the New Jersey House delegation issued a pre-emptive letter to Bush earlier this week urging federal assistance in anticipation of New Jersey Acting Governor Richard J. Codey's call for help. Today's letter urges the President to consider Codey's formal plea for help, which came today.

Earlier this week, Sen. Lautenberg visited Northern Jersey to see areas ravaged by the storm, survey the damage, and meet with residents and state and local officials. Today, Sen. Menendez toured affected neighborhoods with local officials and saw firsthand the damage caused by the storm.

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Below is a copy of the letter. You can view a pdf of the letter here:

April 20, 2007

President George Bush

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to urge your immediate review and swift approval of Acting Governor Codey's request that parts of Burlington, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Union counties and potentially other regions of New Jersey, be declared major disaster areas as a result of the devastating storms and flooding on April 15-17.

Over eight inches of rain fell in parts of these counties over the course of the storm, causing widespread flooding, breaching dams, washing out roadways, collapsing bridges, and damaging several hundred homes and businesses. This storm, the second worst in state history, dropped more rain than any storm since 1882. These downpours resulted in the evacuation of approximately 5,000 New Jerseyans and were responsible for the deaths of at least three. Currently, over a dozen roads and bridges remain closed.

Our residents need swift help from the federal government to begin to put their lives back together and replace property that was destroyed. Once a disaster is declared under the Stafford Act (?401), badly needed services, grants and other financial assistance for disaster-related needs become available to citizens such as homeowner assistance for repairs, serious medical needs, Small Business Administration loans, unemployment assistance, legal advice and many other forms of assistance.

We know that the rebuilding of these areas and of peoples lives will take a long time. New Jersey has not seen devastation like this in many years. So we urge the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to immediately establish Disaster Recovery Centers throughout the area so that our constituents can quickly get the answers and assistance they need.

We appreciate your attention to this matter of critical importance to the people of New Jersey.

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