The idea is to provide long-term relief to help minimize the effects of the devastating flooding New Jerseyans suffered this past summer and early fall. State lawmakers are considering a bill which would authorize the state to issue $100 million in general obligation bonds to be used to provide $50 million in grants to counties and $50 million in grants to municipalities for the cost of transportation infrastructure projects and water infrastructure projects.

“I don’t know if we can ever stop some of this flooding, but I do know that we have to prevent some of the devastating effects of it,” said Bill Sponsor Assemblywoman Connie Wagner. “If we don’t start doing some of the projects, the flooding will occur over and over again.”

“With record weather events increasing in recent years, it’s clear that certain towns are in need of significant structural upgrades,” said Wagner. “What might have worked years ago, isn’t necessarily the case now. Many of the bridges are old and much too low and rather than help the problem, the structural issues often add to the problem and make the flooding even worse.”

Under the bill, the Commissioners of Transportation and Environmental Protection would establish eligibility criteria and procedures for the review and approval of emergency infrastructure projects. Each commissioner would prepare a priority list of eligible projects.

“I know 100 million dollars isn’t enough to solve all of the structural problems, but after visiting so many people in my district after the recent flooding and hearing story after story of how they were flooded out of their homes multiple times, I just felt that something needed to be done,” said Wagner. “For years, we have been asleep at the wheel just ignoring it and we just need to start somewhere.”