Gov. Phil Murphy said that storms like Tropical Storm Ida demonstrate the state’s need for federal infrastructure funding to combat the effects of climate change.
“The world is changing, these storms are coming in more frequently,” Murphy said while speaking in Mullica Hill on Thursday. “We have got to leap forward and get out ahead of this. Any infrastructure money we get, I bet a lot of it will be put into resilient infrastructure, because when you’re the most densely populated state in the nation.”
Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes), who joined Murphy in Hillsborough later in the day to inspect storm damage, called massive flooding and tornados that led to 23 deaths in New Jersey “a wakeup call.”
“It’s not our first wakeup call,” Malinowski said. “Anybody who believes that it’s too expensive to stop climate change, anyone who believes that we cannot afford to stop climate change, has got to wake up to the fact that we cannot afford not to.”
That view was also held by Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, whose own Central Jersey district was hit hard by the storm.
“Let’s be real about what the causes work when we talk about climate change and can fantastic storms – and I don’t mean that in a good way that we face as a result of those thing,” he said.
Malinowski said the urgency of passing President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill “to make sure that we are more resilient in preparing for and dealing with these events” is supplemented by the need for the nation to shift to renewable energy.
“It is past time for this country to make the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. We have an opportunity to do that in Washington this year. If we miss that opportunity, we’re going to have to get used to a lot more events like this in the state of New Jersey and around the country,” Malinowski stated. “That is absolutely unacceptable to me.”