McKee seeking federal funds to aid cliff walk

Gov. Dan McKee has declared a disaster emergency to address the significant damage that occurred in 2022 to the iconic cliff walk in Newport.

The designation allows the Rhode Island Department of Transportation to apply for financial relief through the Federal Highway Administration to repair the 3.5-mile-long landmark. The walkway, which winds past the Breakers with the Atlantic Ocean to the east, was called “one of Rhode Island’s top attractions” by McKee.

“The collapse and the partial closure could cause significant harm to Newport tourism, a top driver of the local economy,” he said. “The impacted area is now closed because it is at risk of further erosion and collapse, which poses a threat to public safety.”

The governor has directed his transportation officials to work with the city of Newport to secure $10 million in federal aid. The total cost could be as high as $13.75 million, McKee said.

In 2013, the state secured $5 million through an emergency declaration to repair the cliff walk in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

“The federal government should do its part to ensure the safety and sustainability of this national treasure,” said U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, a Jamestown resident.