Flooding was the topic in Trenton on Thursday, as legislators called for action on two bills that aim to help municipalities provide relief from Hurricane Irene. The state Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved a bill — with no Republican support — authorizing the state to issue $100 million in bonds to provide grants to local governments. The money would be used for public expenses incurred for projects caused by Hurricane Irene.
Other Democrats are proposing to expand “Blue Acres” projects to municipalities. Blue Acres are similar to Green Acres, in that they allow local governments to establish municipal open space trust funds, but in this case the funds would be used to purchase flood-prone properties. The legislation was introduced state Senator Bob Gordon on Thursday and will be brought to the lower house by Assemblywoman Connie Wagner and Joan Voss. All three are Bergen County Democrats. The proposal met with immediate cheers from Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, who says that the only way to “break the insanity” of rebuilding homes in flood-prone areas rather than buying them out.