N.J. to get $1B to address flooding, climate change after Hurricane Ida. Here’s where it goes.

Published: Jan. 19, 2022

For close to five decades, efforts to address flooding in the Green Brook sub-basin near the Raritan River have been stymied by the lack of federal funding.

But the project, which began in 1973, may finally be completed, thanks to $499.2 million approved by Congress in response to the devastating floods New Jersey experienced from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

The federal funding will total $966 million for New Jersey and is included in President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law and separate federal spending legislation that includes disaster relief for the states hit hardest by Hurricane Ida. Besides New Jersey, they are Pennsylvania, New York and Louisiana.

The money is earmarked for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects across the state to reduce flooding, addressing a problem that has gotten worse due to climate change. They include flood control, restoring ecosystems, maintaining and repairing existing navigation channels and replenishing beaches.

“As New Jersey continues to experience increased rainfall, extreme weather events, and flooding, we must do everything possible to plan and prepare for the impacts of climate change, including through continued investments in major infrastructure projects that will help protect lives and property,” state Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette said.

The September storm was blamed for the deaths of 30 people in the state. Biden traveled to New Jersey to survey the damage and said residents could seek federal assistance.

“While it is of utmost importance to fight the causes of climate change, it is also necessary to mitigate the impacts of climate change that are already occurring,” said Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12th Dist., a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “The deadly floods in Central Jersey last summer show how climate change can devastate communities that were already at risk.”

The Green Brook project takes in three counties — Middlesex, Somerset and Union — and 13 municipalities that “continually experience severe and even catastrophic flood damage,” said LaTourette.

Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-7th Dist., said the work will “help us come out stronger on the other side” after the hurricane.

There also is $153 million for both design and construction to alleviate flooding along the Peckman River Basin in Essex and Passaic counties. The river flows from the town of West Orange to the Passaic River in Woodland Park, and the Army Corps of Engineers blames the flooding on extensive development.

And $128.7 million is included to finish the Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook Bay project in Union Beach, which often floods from coastal storms and was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. There’s an additional $5.6 million for flood control studies in nearby Monmouth County communities.

“This is critical funding that will support projects across New Jersey which will protect communities from the devastating impacts of climate change and flooding, improve our rivers and waterways, and replenish our beaches,” U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez said.

Along the Jersey Shore, the Army Corps will restore the beaches along 14 miles of coastline from Manasquan Inlet to Barnegat Inlet and along 21 miles from Sandy Hook to Barnegat Inlet. at a cost of $54.6 million.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-4th Dist., who bucked his party and supported the infrastructure bill, said the project “will go a long way to repair the significant erosion resulting from intense storms and address serious safety concerns.”

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-01-20 03:09:33 -0800