News From Congressman Frank LoBiondo

LoBiondo Applauds Nomination of Brigantine Native to be

Assistant Secretary of Transportation

Congressman spoke at Simon Gros? Senate Confirmation Hearing Today

WASHINGTON, D.C. ? At a confirmation hearing today in the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, U.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) testified on behalf of Brigantine native Simon Gros, who was nominated by President Bush to be the new Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Government Affairs.

?I have known Simon and his family for 20 years and I am very proud to say he is a South Jersey native. Born and raised in Brigantine, New Jersey, Simon worked his way through school at the University of Maryland before he landed at my office door in 1997 looking for a job on Capitol Hill. I am very happy to say I recognized his talents and potential even then and offered him a job,? LoBiondo testified. ?In his time at the Department of Transportation, Simon has demonstrated the highest levels of professionalism and a true commitment to public service. Needless to say, I strongly support the nomination of Simon Gros to be Assistant Secretary of T ransportation for Governmental Affairs. He is an enormously talented individual and an extremely dedicated public servant.?

?If confirmed, I pledge that my office will remain in constant contact with Congress on all issues affecting the Department. I will be responsive to Congressional inquiries and proactive when communicating Departmental activities. And I will work within the Department to ensure that we comply with both the spirit and the letter of laws passed. I am honored to have been recommended by Secretary Peters and nominated by President Bush to continue my service in the Administration. I?d especially like to recognize Congressman Frank LoBiondo, my home-town Congressman, for whom I worked when I first came to Washington,? said Simon Gros during his Senate confirmation hearing this morning.

In 1997, Gros began his career in LoBiondo?s Capitol Hill office as a staff assistant before working his way up to being the senior legislative assistant. His legislative portfolio included LoBiondo?s work on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. He was also the lead advisor for LoBiondo?s ?Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act,? which was signed into law in 1998.

LoBiondo concluded his testimony by saying, ?When Simon came to me in 2000, to tell me of a great opportunity he had in the private sector, it was very hard for me to accept his resignation. I did, but only with the understanding that he continue to make us proud. And he has.?

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LoBiondo Admonishes President?s Proposed Budget for

Beach Replenishment Projects

Congressman Pressed Administration Officials at Hearing This Afternoon

WASHINGTON, D.C. ? Continuing his efforts to ensure South Jersey receives its fair share, U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today admonished the President?s proposed Fiscal Year 2009 budget for again failing to include funding for beach renourishment projects in South Jersey. During a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, LoBiondo pressed representatives from the Administration for their logic in recommending no federal resources for the projects.

?I continue to be absolutely astonished by the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) directive to zero out funding for projects to renourish our beaches and protect our seaside properties, businesses and economy along our shores. It is just totally unbelievable and I am outraged,? blasted LoBiondo during today?s hearing. ?In light of the lessons learned from recent hurricanes, I would think the OMB would do the relatively simple math and realize they are saving taxpayers money by spending a few million now to restore eroded beaches and dunes, rather than spending billions after a hurricane to rebuild our coastal cities.?

During the hearing, LoBiondo argued that beach renourishment projects serve as the first line of defense against the destructive force of hurricanes and other ocean storms, protecting residents, their property and businesses located along the nation?s coastlines. Annual budgets proposed under both the Bush and Clinton Administrations have not included funding for beach renourishment projects. However, Congress has continued to appropriate federal dollars to these projects.

LoBiondo has led the charge in securing nearly $171 million in beach replenishment funding for South Jersey since being elected into office, and organized the defeat of a proposed formula change that would have mandated local municipalities to pay 65 percent of the costs associated with these projects rather than the current 35 percent share. The federal government pays the remaining portion.

?It cannot be overstated: our beaches are critically important in creating local jobs and growing the regional economy. New Jersey?s 130 miles of coastline and beaches are the foundation for the state?s $20 billion tourism industry. It is imperative that our state receives its fair share of federal funding to promote healthy beaches and protect those who visit them,? concluded LoBiondo.

LoBiondo is the only member of the New Jersey delegation to sit on the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

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New Jersey?s Republican Congressmen Join in Opposition to Governor?s Proposed Toll Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – New Jersey?s Republican Congressmen today sent a letter to New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine expressing their opposition to his proposed toll and restructuring plan. U.S. Congressmen Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02), Jim Saxton (NJ-03), Chris Smith (NJ-04), Scott Garrett (NJ-05), Mike Ferguson (NJ-07) and Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) joined in calling for Governor Corzine to “seek alternatives to (his) proposal which would focus on containing the explosion of state spending over the last eight years.”

The full text of the letter to Governor Corzine is as follows:

February 13, 2008

Dear Governor Corzine:

We are writing to restate our vehement opposition to your so called “Save Our State” plan to restructure New Jersey?s $32 billion debt.

It is our understanding your plan would raise tolls on public highways in our state by over 800 percent, unfairly target New Jersey commuters, divert toll revenues from funding critical transportation priorities in favor of other state programs, and create a public benefit corporation to manage billions in toll revenues which is not accountable to the public. We believe your proposal would endanger our state?s tourist based economy, hinder job creation and further increase the cost of goods and services at a time when our economy is faltering and New Jersey residents are struggling to make ends meet. Finally, we are seriously concerned your proposal would increase congestion and undermine public safety on our local roads as trucks and other traffic divert off the highways to avoid increased tolls.

Rather than relying on the failed policies of higher taxes and increased bond financing, we encourage you to seek alternatives to your proposal which would focus on containing the explosion of state spending over the last eight years. Thank you for your consideration of our views.

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