Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-6) said Long Branch and other coastal towns could have their beaches replenished in the near future, thanks to funding from the Hurricane Sandy aid bill.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure Friday afternoon allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to borrow $9.7 billion to pay insurance claims made by victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Congress is expected to vote on two additional bills authorizing more than $50 billion in Sandy aid on Jan. 15.
That money includes funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to perform beach replenishment projects for towns affected by the hurricane.
Long Branch Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Stanley Dzuiba recently said Long Branch's beaches lost a lot of sand after Hurricane Sandy and are in need of replenishment.
Pallone said Long Branch could be one of the towns selected by the Army Corps of Engineers for beach replenishment.
"They are doing surveys along the shore now to see how they would prioritize the work," Pallone said. "I want to try to get Long Branch and the other towns I represent as much beach replenishment as possible."
He said if the bill is approved next week as it is scheduled to be, beach replenishment projects could begin this spring.
"All towns lost sand, but (the Army Corps of Engineers) will do the worst-hit areas first," he said.
Pallone has always been an advocate for beach replenishment and recently worked to have Monmouth Beach and a portion of Sea Bright's beaches replenished.
The corps started the work north of the Monmouth Beach and Tennis Club and will then move north toward Sea Bright. Congressman Pallone requested the funding before Hurricane Sandy and it was approved last year as part of fiscal year 2012’s appropriations legislation.
Pallone said Long Branch's beaches from Cedar Avenue to Pier Village were last replenished "a few years ago," but said it should be done every six years to provide adequate protection from storms.
Long Branch's beachfront took a big hit with the loss of the boardwalk from Brighton Avenue to Pier Village, but the area was not hit has hard as other coastal towns.