WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, chair of the Sandy Task Force and ranking member of the Senate’s housing subcommittee, announced today that he secured language in the year-end omnibus spending bill that provides an additional year of eligibility for Hoboken’s bold, $230 million “Rebuild By Design” flood resiliency project without the threat of clawback of federal funding.
Sen. Menendez secured a one-year extension of Sandy-related Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief funds allocated for the project, which were due to expire on Sept. 30, 2022. If the project is not completed by that statutory deadline, federal funding designated for the project could be forfeited. The omnibus bill contains a provision authored by Sen. Menendez that extends that deadline to Sept. 30, 2023, allowing the project to continue as planned.
“I was proud to support and secure $230 million in federal funding for Hoboken’s ‘Rebuild By Design’ project and refuse to sit back and allow this vital flood mitigation project to be torpedoed by some arbitrary statutory deadline,” said Sen. Menendez. “This is the kind of long-term, comprehensive approach to flood mitigation and resiliency that can protect the residents of Hoboken and its surrounding communities and serve as a model for other urban areas grappling with repetitive flooding. While we will likely need to secure an additional extension to complete this project, this gives us some additional breathing room to work with the incoming Biden Administration.”
Hoboken’s “Rebuild By Design” features a series of seawalls, state-of-the-art green spaces and resiliency parks, water pumps and sewer system upgrades.
In March, Sen. Menendez and Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla led U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Region II Administrator Lynne Patton on a tour of the city’s groundbreaking “Rebuild By Design” resiliency project to highlight the merits of the project and secure the administration’s support for an extension. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Catherine McCabe, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner and representatives from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and U.S. Senator Cory Booker’s office also took part.
HUD launched “Rebuild By Design” in June 2013—a multi-stage planning and design competition to promote resiliency in Sandy-affected areas and innovation by developing regionally-scalable but locally-contextual solutions that increase resilience in the region. New Jersey was awarded two separate grants in 2014: $230 million for Hoboken and $150 million to a resiliency project in the New Jersey Meadowlands, both areas that suffered severe flooding from Sandy.
Earlier this year, Sen. Menendez and Mayor Bhalla announced $14 million in federal grants to complete construction of Northwest Resiliency Park, the country’s largest known resiliency park once completed with above ground green infrastructure and an underground water detention system that together can withhold nearly two million gallons of rainwater and runoff.
Sen. Menendez shepherded through Congress the original $60 billion Sandy aid package and is the leading advocate for sweeping reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that include unprecedented federal investment in flood mitigation and resiliency.