LoBiondo: Ocean City Beach Project Coming in Fall, Flood Insurance Bill a Good One

first_imgOcean City Mayor Jay Gillian and U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo on Thursday at the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce membership meeting.U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2nd) updated the Ocean City business community Thursday on a handful of issues of vital interest to the local economy.LoBiondo addressed the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce at its monthly membership meeting during a luncheon at the Flanders Hotel.The congressman said a federal Army Corps of Engineers replenishment project for the eroded beaches of Ocean City’s southern end is still scheduled for the fall. He touted his support of funding that has brought $170 million worth of beach rebuilding to Cape May County alone during his tenure.Because Superstorm Sandy contributed to the erosion, the federal government will pay 100 percent of a multi-town project (with Strathmere and Sea Isle City) estimated to cost more than $60 million for the Ocean City portion alone.“It’s a big break for taxpayers in the Second District,” LoBiondo said of the one-time deal.LoBiondo also explained his support for a flood insurance reform measure — “not a perfect bill but a good bill.”He had voted to support the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act that triggered substantial premium increases in an effort to dig the National Flood Insurance Program out of more than $24 billion in debt and avoid the lapses in funding that temporarily crippled the real estate industry (with mortgage companies requiring flood insurance  before property sales could close).But LoBiondo said imperfect implementation of Biggert-Waters led to the need for a reform bill that eases the burden on local property owners.LoBiondo said such measures are not just about insurance and wide beaches — but about protecting the real estate and tourism industries that provide jobs and fuel the economy.Gary Jessel, broker and president of Fox Real Estate, thanked LoBiondo for his work and his experience in protecting local interests.Jessel said the sales market for the spring is doing very well and the rental market is “off the charts.”On other issues, LoBiondo said he thought the City of Ocean City “acted in good faith” in facilitating $1.2 million in emergency repairs to a federal housing project in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. He said he hoped the local Housing Authority, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and the city could sit down to end a dispute and come to an agreement on reimbursing the city for the work.He also said he would support construction of a natural-gas pipeline that would help the B.L. England Generating Station meet requirements to burn cleaner fuel.“If the feds had a say in this, I would be voting to get that pipeline built,” LoBiondo said.last_img read more