UNION COUNTY, NJ - The Mayors Council Rahway River Watershed Flood Control reported that Wednesday of last week the US Senate passed by a 96-4 vote the Federal Water Resources Development Act.
The Act includes a directive to the secretary to expedite the final review and provide pre-construction and engineering funds for the construction of the Rahway River flood mitigation plan. Also known as Alternative 4a, the plan is a revision of one of the 10 alternatives that the US Army Corps and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection have been evaluating since the major damages from Irene in 2011. A storm that caused over $100 million of property damages.
Alternative 4a includes modification to the Orange Reservoir and downstream channel improvements through Cranford and lift or acquisition of numerous properties in the City of Rahway. The plan had the strongest benefit cost ratio required to be attained as part of the federal process meaning the project benefits (less flood damages) exceed project costs.
The Senate action came after Senator Robert Menendez and Senator Cory Booker successfully amended the original legislation to incorporate the provision making the Rahway River projects a priority. Congressman Lance was also successful in having an amendment incorporated in the House bill. The final passage and President’s approval is expected to take place in December.
The Mayors Council Rahway River Watershed Flood Control expressed appreciation for making the plan a priority. Cranford Mayor Andis Kalnins said “ We appreciate the efforts of our federal legislators working on our behalf.”
The Mayors Council includes: Union Mayor Manual Figueiredo; Former Millburn Mayor Robert Tillotson; Cranford Mayor Andis Kalnins; Millburn Mayor Ted Bourke; Rahway Mayor Sam Steinman; Springfield Mayor Jerry Fernandez; Maplewood Mayor Victor Deluca; and Kenilworth Mayor Anthony DeLuca.
Over $100 million of damages was faced by residents along the Rahway River during Irene and no improvement in the situation has yet been done. The Federal and State Rahway River Flood Mitigation Plan has significant flood mitigation benefits including material water elevation reductions from Millburn to Rahway.