Emphasizes Need for Heightened Focus on Blue Acres Program Moving Forward
The Assembly Appropriations Committee on Monday approved a bipartisan package of bills (A-3368/3369/3370) appropriating more than $123 million in voter-approved funding to help preserve open space and acquire properties that are prone to flooding throughout the Garden State.
Appropriations Committee Chair John Burzichelli (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem) underscored the importance of the funding in the wake of the massive flood damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.
“As the most densely populated state in the nation, preserving open space is always one of our key goals, but in the aftermath of Sandy, providing funding to buy up properties that are prone to flooding and damage is paramount right now.
“The Blue Acres program was designed to help alleviate repeated nightmares for home and business owners located in flood-prone areas. This program allows them to willingly sell their homes to the state, which is crucial. Properties that are repeatedly prone to flooding are nearly impossible to sell, nor do we want new owners to come in and subject themselves to costly, reoccurring damage.
“While these are all worthy projects, moving forward, as we work to identify a new funding source for these programs, we certainly must place an increased emphasis on properties in flood-prone zones. As Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I look forward to being a part of those discussions,” said Burzichelli.
New Jersey’s Blue Acres Program was designed to provide funding for the acquisition of properties (including structures) that have been damaged by, or may be prone to incurring damage caused by, storms or storm-related flooding, or that may buffer or protect other lands from such damage.
The funding approved today comes from the “Green Acres, Water Supply and Floodplain Protection, and Farmland and Historic Preservation Bond Act of 2009” approved by voters.