News From Congressman Frank LoBiondo

House Approves $9.8 Million for 177th Fighter Wing in Egg Harbor Township

Congressman also secures $350,000 for Proposed Aviation Research & Technology Park in Atlantic County

WASHINGTON, D.C. ? U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has secured $9.8 million for the 177th National Guard Fighter Wing for its new Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS) facility. The new funding was approved 269 to 142 late last night.

?This federal funding is critical in expanding the facilities at the 177th Fighter Wing, who is tasked with arguably the most important mission in protecting our skies from New York City to Washington, D.C. and beyond,? said LoBiondo. ?I will continue to work with the men and women at the 177th to ensure they have all the resources they need to successfully complete their mission.?

This two year project will house personnel and equipment, including HUMVEES, which support frontline Army maneuver units and coordinate air support missions for the Air Force. The new facility will also house equipment that can be used in the event of a state emergency where the National Guard is activated. The 177th National Guard Fighter Wing operates out of the Atlantic City International Airport.

Also included in the legislation is $350,000 in federal funding for the proposed Aviation Research and Technology Park at the William J. Hughes FAA Tech Center in Atlantic County. The funding would be directed to the Richard Stockton College for the devel opment of academic programs at the proposed industrial park.

“Plans for the proposed Aviation Research & Technology Park at the FAA Tech Center are clearly progressing, which is great news for both Atlantic County and the aviation industry at large,” said LoBiondo, a member of the House Aviation Subcommittee. “I am pleased to secure this funding for the proposed aviation park that will bring additional high-skilled jobs into southern New Jersey and foster innovation in the aviation technology sector.?

?Congressman LoBiondo?s continued support in securing funding for the Aviation Research and Technology Park underscores this project?s many benefits to the region: diversification of the workforce, continued economic growth, and expanded educational opportunities,? said Dr. Herman Saatkamp Jr, President of The Richard Stockton College. ?The Congressman shares our vision for a high-tech hub for not only southern New Jersey, but the entire East Coast.?

The proposed Aviation Research and Technology Park would be located on a 55-acre parcel controlled by the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township. The park will provide an environment where advanced concepts in aviation research can be explored by engineers, computer scientists, mathematicians and air traffic controllers to advance the modernization and protection of our national airspace system and increasing airspace and airpo rt capacity. LoBiondo had previously secured $75,000 in an economic development grant for the Atlantic County Improvement Authority to initiate the feasibility study.

The funding for both projects was included in the House-Senate conference report for the combined Fiscal Year 2008 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill and the Fiscal Year 2008 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. The Senate is expected to vote on the conference report this week.

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LoBiondo Applauds Committee Passage of BEACH Act

Today?s Bill Includes Language Authored by Congressman

WASHINGTON, D.C. ? Continuing his efforts to ensure South Jersey receives its fair share, U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today applauded the inclusion of language he offered to H.R. 2537, the ?Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act,? which will help to ensure adequate federal funding is available to protect New Jersey?s waters and beach-goers. Derived from similar legislation he introduced earlier this year, LoBiondo?s language was included during the full House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee mark-up today. LoBiondo is the only member of the New Jersey delegation to sit on the committee.

?New Jersey?s 130 miles of coastline and beaches are critical to the $20 billion tourism industry that fuels our local and state economy. It is imperative that our state receives its fair share of federal funding to promote healthy beaches and protect those who visit them,? said LoBiondo, a member of the House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee. ?Funding for states like New Jersey, with tens of millions of visitors at local beaches each season and countless year-round residents, should not be solely dictated by the calendar. I am pleased the Committee has adopted my language to examine the current formula used by the EPA when distributing funding for water quality testing to the states.?

Determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the current formula distributes federal funding for water quality efforts to each state based primarily on the length of the state?s ?beach season,? therefore awarding more federal dollars to southern, coastal states at the expense of northern states. Other factors such as the number of visitors to and geographical size of state beaches are considered to a lesser degree. LoBiondo?s language would instruct the EPA to re-evaluate the current formula by putting greater weight on the number of visitors to state beaches year-round ? ensuring states with more beach-goers have the necessary federal resources to protect the public and water quality – and report back to Congress on the agency?s findings.

Since 2001, New Jersey has received over $1.4 million in BEACH Act funding, with an additional $279,870 granted this year. The EPA coastal and beach monitoring program is part of a cooperative initiative with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP) to protect the state?s waters. With the assistance of EPA?s ?Coastal Crusader? helicopter, each agency collects water samples once a week to test for bacteria; and they split the responsibility for aerial monitoring of the waters for floatable debris and oil slicks.

?New Jersey has the highest quality of water along our beaches than any other state in the country. While other states test only on holiday weekends, New Jersey continuously tests the water quality each week to ensure the safest possible conditions for residents and visitors. I trust the EPA will devise a new formula that is more justified and equitable in its treatment of coastal states,? concluded LoBiondo.

In January 2007, LoBiondo introduced legislation which would increase federal support available to coastal states. Introduced with Congressman Timothy Bishop (NY-01), LoBiondo?s legislation would provide up to $30 million annually through fiscal year 2011 for water quality testing at the nation?s 6,000 public beaches. In the previous Congress, LoBiondo also authored the BEACH Act which was approved by the House in December 2005, but never considered by the full Senate.

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