Study addresses flooding in Cranford, Kenilworth, Garwood, Rahway, Springfield and Union and surrounding counties
Key federal legislation that would among other items, address flooding concerns in Union County and other central New Jersey locations is advancing—thanks in part to the efforts of Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker.
Freeholder Vice Chair Bette Jane Kowalski (of Cranford) and Freeholder Bruce Bergen (of Springfield) have been long advocating for the completion of the Rahway River Basin Flood Risk Management Feasibility Study, which provides a blueprint on how to protect central New Jersey communities from Rahway River flooding—including Cranford, Kenilworth, Springfield, Union, Rahway and Garwood in Union County.
“The study is designed to provide a long-lasting solution to a problem that has plagued many of our municipalities for years, if not decades, causing tens of millions in property damage,” said Freeholder Vice Chair Kowalski. “We applaud the efforts of Senators Bookers and Menendez that have brought this important issue for a final vote.”
Freeholder Bergen, who has long worked with a Union County Mayor’s Committee to address flooding, also thanked both Senators, adding: “The bill not only expedites the completion of the study, but would also urge the Secretary of the Army to proceed directly through the Army Corps of Engineers to project preconstruction, engineering, and design.”
Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados also expressed his appreciation to both Senators—and to Freeholders Bergen and Kowalski for their diligence in staying on the issue through the years on the Board.
“While there is still a final vote pending, I would like to thank both my colleagues—Freeholders Bergen and Kowalski for their perseverance and efforts with our Senators to advance such critical legislation that would protect Union County residents and their homes from flood damage,” Chairman Granados said.
Support for the funding, completion and implementation of the study is included in America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018—bipartisan legislation that includes provisions both Booker and Menendez fought for to expedite critical flood mitigation projects, strengthen the nation’s aging water infrastructure, and help boost the water utility workforce. The bill now heads to the full Senate for a vote after being passed by the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, which Booker is a member of.
“Investing in our water infrastructure is critical to the health and safety of our state’s residents, and to New Jersey’s and our nation’s economic success,” said Senator Booker. “This legislation will help protect New Jersey communities from flooding and extreme weather, provide the necessary job training to strengthen our water utility workforce, rebuild our crumbling drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, and create jobs. I look forward to continuing our bipartisan work to move this bill through the full Senate.”
In 2016, Booker and Menendez successfully included several New Jersey priorities in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) authorization, including the Rahway River Basin Flood Risk Management, Hereford Inlet to Cape May Inlet, Hudson Raritan Estuary, and the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act.