Five years after Superstorm Sandy, Governor Chris Christie says more needs to be done to protect vulnerable communities in New Jersey. He says that’s why the state is expanding the Blue Acres program.
Christie says since Sandy, $300 million, most of it federal funds, allowed the state to make 900 buyout offers to willing sellers in areas with repeated flooding and 475 homes have been demolished to covert the land into open space.
He says the state is committing another $75 million in federal funds to acquire and remove hundreds more at-risk homes in communities that want to participate in the Blue Acres program.
“What it means for the homeowners will be to get a fair price for their home, to be able to move on to purchase another home in an area that’s not repetitively flooded, and to give them peace of mind when they move into that home that they will not be dealt with the same type of bad hand that happens when flooding comes.”
Christie says expanding the Blue Acres program will take the properties that will be acquired and demolished off the tax rolls, but it will give people an alternative to living with the constant threat of flooding.
“The fact is these folks need this help. And I don’t think that any mayor would responsibly want people who are miserable and having their belongings destroyed repeatedly become a captive to property tax base. That’s not what we should be worried about first and foremost.”
Christie says the economic recovery from Sandy in shore counties is complete, but about a thousand families are still not back in their homes.