N.J. considers $5 billion emergency loan fund for Sandy repairs

    New Jersey lawmakers are considering a measure to help rebuild some infrastructure damaged by Sandy.

    The legislation would create a $5 billion emergency loan fund so towns and utility authorities could pay for repairs to water-supply and wastewater-treatment facilities.

    New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel is concerned vague standards for that rebuilding will leave the projects vulnerable to future storms.

    “My concern is how it’s written, and since there’s no real standards in it, and we’re leaving a lot of the discretion to the DEP commissioner, we’re going to be rebuilding things in same place, in the same way,” Tittel said Tuesday. “Then, we’re going to be wondering why we get the same outcome in the next big storm.”

    David Zimmer, the executive director of the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, says the repairs should make those facilities more resilient.

    “I don’t think anybody wants to spend a dime in such a manner that if we have an identical storm or an identical weather pattern that that money that we’ve put in for rebuild is going to need to be spent again because that exact same thing happened,” he said.

    Zimmer says the loan program should be ready by the end of July and anticipates most of the funds will be reimbursed by FEMA.

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