Congressman Kim Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Prepare New Jersey Roads for Extreme Storms

January 29, 2020
Press Release

Congressman Kim Introduces Bipartisan Bill to
Prepare New Jersey Roads for Extreme Storms

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) introduced H.R. 5700, the Resilient Highways Act, with Congressman David Rouzer (NC-07) and Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (IA-01). The bipartisan bill would help communities like those in Burlington and Ocean Counties strengthen their local infrastructure against the increased risks of extreme storms and flooding. 

“One of the questions I get most often is how we’re preparing for the next superstorm,” said Congressman Kim. “I share the concerns of our neighbors I’ve met at my town halls, which is why I’ve joined with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to introduce the Resilient Highways Act. This bill would give our communities the resources they need to ensure our infrastructure – roads, bridges and critical evacuation routes – is prepared for the next big one.”

The Resilient Highways Act would allow State Departments of Transportation to use up to 15 percent of funds apportioned under the National Highway Performance Program for projects to mitigate the risk of recurring damage from extreme weather, flooding, and other natural disasters on infrastructure within the National Highway System. These kinds of projects would include raising and relocating roadways out of flood prone areas, constructing drainage structures, and using natural infrastructure to mitigate flood risk.

Major roads potentially impacted by this bill include the New Jersey Turnpike, Route 130, and Route 537 in Burlington County, and Route 70 and Route 35 in Ocean County.

"We commend Congressman Kim for his work with representatives from other states facing severe flooding - regardless of party - to do what is right for Ocean County and all New Jersey residents,” said Amanda Devecka-Rinear, Executive Director, New Jersey Organizing Project (NJOP). “We know for every $1 we invest in mitigation we save taxpayers $6 in disaster recovery funds.  It is critical that we are able to use National Highway Performance Program funds not just to repair potholes or even flood damage after the fact but to make the infrastructure changes necessary to protect the roads and our communities from future flooding.  We live with more tidal flooding and severe storms - that's why we have to get the resources our communities need to stay safe and be better prepared." 

The Resilient Highways Act is the House companion of a bill introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and has the support of both the New York and New Jersey Departments of Transportation.

Last year, Congressman Kim held a town hall in Seaside Heights at the request of residents across Burlington and Ocean Counties who expressed concerns about local flooding issues. He also met with shore town mayors to discuss challenges faced by the NFIP. In addition, Kim joined with a bipartisan delegation to call for common-sense changes to the NFIP that would help New Jersey families.