April 9, 2024

RI Delegation Announces Over $54.7M in Grants for Transportation Upgrades and Climate Resiliency Projects Across the Ocean State 

Providence, RI – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Seth Magaziner and Gabe Amo today announced four grants totaling $54,750,800 from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) Grant program.  The grants were awarded to help fund the installation of a dehumidification system on the cables and anchors of the Mount Hope Bridge; the restoration of the Newport Cliff Walk; the development of a coastal management plan for the Town of Warren’s Market to Metacom project; and nature-based, climate resiliency stormwater projects at ninety-seven locations across Rhode Island. 

“This federal funding will help Rhode Island make key infrastructure safer and more resilient.  From flooded roads, to coastal erosion, to vulnerable bridges, the Ocean State has been impacted by climate change and severe weather.  This federal funding will allow the state to move forward with key projects to upgrade infrastructure, improve quality of life, and grow our economy,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee who helped enact the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (P.L. 117-58) in 2021.  “These projects will help save taxpayers money in the long run by minimizing the need for costly maintenance and rebuilding.”

“As the majestic Mount Hope Bridge nears its century mark, the Bridge is in urgent need of significant upgrades to protect the integrity of its cables from rising temperatures, moisture, and humidity caused by climate change.  I’ve advocated extensively for this Mount Hope Bridge funding to prevent another massive disruption for Rhode Islanders, which would be triggered by further deterioration of the cables,” said Senator Whitehouse, who helped create the PROTECT Grant program as a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  “All together, this nearly $55 million federal investment in climate resiliency upgrades across the Ocean State will help harden our roads, bridges, landmarks, and businesses against climate-related threats.”

“As climate change continues to batter our state with sea level rise and more frequent flooding, we must rise to the moment,” said Congressman Magaziner.  “This federal funding is a huge win for Rhode Island, and will help us update aging infrastructure to keep Rhode Islanders safe.”

“These transformative investments are about strengthening the connections that bind our East Bay and Aquidneck Island communities together and bring in people near and far to inspire local economic activity,” said Congressman Amo.  “Whether it’s safeguarding the Mount Hope Bridge or restoring the iconic Newport Cliff Walk, I am proud to work alongside my colleagues in our Congressional delegation to bring home nearly $55 million in federal funds to confront the existential threat of climate change.  Why?  Because every dollar that we spend on climate resiliency projects is a dollar to protect Rhode Islanders and improve their quality of life.”

The PROTECT Grant program was funded by the landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and was designed to help ensure transportation resilience to natural hazards including climate change, sea level rise, flooding, extreme weather events, and other natural disasters through support of planning activities, resilience improvements, community resilience and evacuation routes, and at-risk coastal infrastructure.  The application period for this program closed in August 2023.

$54,750,800 in PROTECT Grant funding was awarded to the following four Rhode Island projects:

  • The Rhode Island Department of Transportation will receive $26 million to manage stormwater drainage, reduce roadway flooding, and address climate change vulnerabilities at 97 locations across the state.
  • The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority will receive $17 million to install a dehumidification system on the cables and anchors of the Mount Hope Bridge.  Senators Reed and Whitehouse previously secured a $10 million earmark in the FY2023 government funding law for dehumidification work that is currently underway on the Bridge, for a total of $27 million.  The dehumidification project will prevent erosion of the cables which has accelerated because of climate change.
  • The City of Newport will receive over $11 million to repair and stabilize the two sections of the Newport Cliff Walk that collapsed in 2022.  Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Congressman Amo secured an additional $5 million earmark for Cliff Walk repairs in the FY2024 government funding measure that was signed into law last month, for a total of over $16 million.
  • The Rhode Island Department of Transportation will receive $750,000 to develop a coastal management plan to address alternatives for three state roadway resurfacing projects along RI-136 to facilitate the Town of Warren’s “Market to Metacom” relocation plan.


Press Contact

Chip Unruh (Reed), (202) 224-4642 Meaghan McCabe (Whitehouse), (202) 224-2921 James Kwon (Magaziner), (202) 951-0315 Dylan Sodaro (Amo), (202) 225-4911