NJ may need federal help as major roads become more prone to floods
A New Jersey congressman is pushing a plan to help communities better prepare their roadways for extreme and dangerous weather conditions.
U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J. 3rd District, is co-sponsoring the Resilient Highways Act, a bipartisan bill that would help towns strengthen their local infrastructure against increased risks of violent storms and flooding.
He said the measure would allow communities to tap more federal funding to be able to “raise up our roads and make sure that some of these, especially roads that are on the barrier islands here in New Jersey and elsewhere, that we’re able to preserve them and make them more resilient.”
Kim explained the legislation “would allow for the state departments of Transportation to use up to 15% of funds that are apportioned under the National Highways Performance program, it would allow them to then raise roads, support roads in flood prone areas, do drainage structure and other things like that, that would be so critically important on some of these really essential roads."
Kim said making some of these roads more resilient is important.
"You know, these are critical roads that if they fail, people’s lives are at risk," he said.
He stressed we have to be ready for “the next Superstorm Sandy type storm.
"We know it’s just a matter of when not if we get hit again," he said.
Kim pointed out so-called “sunny day” flooding is growing more commonplace in some areas down the shore, so it’s more important than ever to make our roads more resilient.
According to The Associated Press, in the first six months of 2019 storms and flooding caused $1.2 billion in damage to U.S. infrastructure across 24 states. Another report also recently showed that millions are at risk of worsening flooding and infrastructure damage, highlighting the need for proactive resilience investments.