Legislation aimed at saving lives, money would boost New Jersey’s hazard mitigation dollars
U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, and Mayor Dawn Zimmer today joined with city residents, business owners and area first responders to announce introduced the Safe Building Code Incentive Act. The legislation will help New Jersey property owners and communities rebuild stronger and better after sustaining damage from Superstorm Sandy.
“Throughout the fight for federal Sandy relief on Capitol Hill, I emphasized the need for New Jersey to not just rebuild – but to rebuild better and stronger than before the storm. The Safe Building Codes Incentive Act is aimed at achieving that same goal but better enabling hazard mitigation efforts throughout New Jersey,” said Senator Menendez. “This legislation would also address the unacceptable reality that only 16 states are complying with and enforcing the most modern and up-to-date building codes. It encourages all states to adopt and enforce the latest International Code Council standards by providing increased Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds as an incentive.”
“I am pleased to once again be an original cosponsor of The Safe Building Code Incentive Act. If the devastation from Hurricane Sandy has taught us anything in my region- it is that the damage could have been much worse had New Jersey not already had exemplary standards for building codes in place,” said Congressman Sires. “Now is the time for every state to ensure that buildings are constructed in a manner that will not only stand the test of time, but stand up to the natural disasters that are bound to occur.”
Mayor Zimmer expressed her gratitude to the Senator and Congressman for their fight for federal Sandy relief.
“I know they both fought tooth-and-nail to make sure that we got the funding that we needed to get our recovery started,” said Mayor Zimmer. “New Jersey was extremely hard hit by Superstorm Sandy. Hoboken was hard hit. The very place we’re standing was under several feet of water. We thank Senator Menendez and Congressman Sires so much for all of their hard work.”
The Safe Building Code Incentive Act would provide states that voluntarily adopt and enforce strong building codes with additional Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding after a disaster strikes. This funding can be used by local communities to help homeowners elevate their homes, buyout repetitively flooded properties, and undertake other actions to prepare for natural disasters of all types.
Currently, 16 states, including New Jersey, enforce model building codes that comply with the ICC standards. These states would be immediately eligible for an additional four percent in HMGP funds after a declared disaster. The bill would also be applied retroactively to before Oct. 29, 2012, so New Jersey property owners affected by Superstorm Sandy can receive the extra assistance they need to rebuild stronger and more resilient homes.