State Officials Announce Ocean Gate Grant Award
Flanked by State Department of Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno announces the award of a $300,000 grant to make drainage and road repairs on Monmouth Avenue in Ocean Gate.
Guadagno, a Monmouth Beach native, told Ocean Gate residents Tuesday that she knows all too well the dangers posed by an aging infrastructure built in the 1920's with terra cotta pipes on the verge of collapse.
"I know what a terra cotta pipe looks like because those are the same pipes they put in my town and I know what it's like to pray that the pipe lasts one more year. I know what it's like to go to bed knowing the accident waiting to happen in your town and it's the street that this $300,000 grant is going to fix for you finally. Fix it so you can go to bed at night knowing that there's not gonna be not only an emergency repair where people are going to get hurt if the road finally collapses, as we know it would have, but also that you're not going to have to pay for it."
Commissioner Simpson says repairs coming to Monmouth Avenue are one of the many incremental improvements taking place on roadways and bridges through out the state. "Guess what? the pavement is getting better state wide. Four years ago it was at 47% percent. We're at 53% and in eight years, 83% of our pavement will be good or better. That's unprecedented! Our bridges, the number of deficient bridges that we have, is going down. We've got about 6,500 bridges that we're responsible for; 2,518 that the state is responsible for. We're down to 295 bridges that are functionally deficient, not unsafe. We're going to cut that number in half in the next eight years."
Ocean Gate was one of a dozen communities in New Jersey to get money from the $2.75 million dollar Local Aid Infrastructure Fund grants totaling $2.75 million, eight Rail Freight Assistance Program grants for $6.6 million and four State Airport Improvement Program grants totaling $2 million.
They're applying the money for drainage and road repairs on the chronically flooded Monmouth Avenue. Mayor Paul Kennedy says at first, the DOT rejected their application for the funds but he credits the intervention of 9th District State Senator Chris Connors and Assembly Members Diane Gove and Brian Rumpf for their intervention in helping getting them the award.
Kennedy told State Officials and residents yesterday that they're trying hard to improve the infrastructure with no ratables in town. He says some people may be wondering why a $300,000 road project on Monmouth Avenue is such a big deal? He says $300,000 to Ocean Gate may be like a million and a half dollars to a Camden or Newark or even Toms River.
In earlier reports by Townsquare Media Jason Allentoff, we're learning work is expected to begin sometime at the end of October or early November. They are in the design stage right now and will go out to bid on the project in the next few weeks.
They hope to have it completed by next Spring.