U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., met with members of the Mayors’ Council Rahway River Watershed Flood Control in his Washington, D.C., office to discuss the need of local communities for long-term flood mitigation.
The president’s FY2017 budget, delivered to Congress this week, includes an additional $379,000 for the Army Corps of Engineers to complete a key study needed to finish a flood mitigation project along the Rahway River Basin, which flows through Union, Essex and Middlesex counties.
The federal government has already provided $2,770,600 since the study was first authorized in 1997.
“I fully understand the urgency to complete this study and you have my full support, as this is my highest priority project for the Army Corps,” Menendez told the mayors. “Communities along the Rahway River Basin have been fighting nearly two decades for funding to address severe flooding along the river that has damaged homes, businesses, roads and municipal facilities. It’s time to take the next the step to protect the area and restore the River Basin.”
The Rahway River watershed is one of the Garden State’s oldest urbanized areas, featuring woodlands and wetlands that support over 700 species of plants and animals, some 5,000 acres of county parklands and the source of drinking water for the City of Rahway.
It runs through 24 municipalities: Carteret, Clark, Cranford, Edison, Fanwood, Garwood, Kenilworth, Linden, Maplewood, Metuchen, Millburn, Mountainside, Orange, Plainfield, Rahway, Scotch Plains, Springfield, South Orange, Westfield, West Orange, Winfield Park, Woodbridge, Union and Summit.
“We are grateful for the leadership and steadfast support that Sen. Menendez has shown in working to advance the Rahway River Flood Mitigation project in Congress and before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” said Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski on behalf of the group. “We are pleased at the successful dedication of funds to date, and are committed to working with Sen. Menendez and all our communities and constituents to bring meaningful protection from flooding as expeditiously as possible.”
Among the public officials attending the meeting were: Mayors’ Council Co-Founder and former Cranford Mayor Dan Aschenbach; Union Township Mayor Manuel Figueiredo; Cranford Mayor Andy Kalnins, Deputy Mayor Mary O’Connor and Commissioner Tom Hanna; Maplewood Mayor Victor DeLuca; Springfield Mayor Jerry Fernandez; and Rahway Mayor Samson Steinman.