Reed, Whitehouse & Amo Deliver Over $16 Million to Strengthen & Repair Newport’s Iconic Cliff Walk

U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, alongside Congressman Gabe Amo, announced Monday that Rhode Island has been earmarked over $16 million in federal funds to rejuvenate one of its premier tourist destinations, Newport’s iconic Cliff Walk.

Attracting over 1 million visitors annually, Newport’s Cliff Walk is a picturesque trail tracing the rugged coastline, offering stunning vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and granting access to the historic estates of the Gilded Age. Spanning over three miles along Newport’s eastern shore, the trail’s northern stretch offers leisurely strolls while the southern segment provides a more adventurous hike through rocky terrain.

Despite its acclaim as a National Recreation Trail and a recipient of accolades such as being named one of the “50 Places of a Lifetime in America” by National Geographic Traveler magazine, the Cliff Walk has faced challenges. Recent years witnessed sections succumbing to coastal erosion, with notable incidents including a collapse in March 2022 and the closure of a southern portion due to a sinkhole. However, the trail has persevered, remaining open with detours around the damaged areas.

The allocated funds, secured through a combination of a $5 million federal earmark from the Fiscal Year 2024 Consolidated Appropriations law and an $11 million Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) grant, mark a significant milestone in the restoration efforts.

Senator Reed emphasized the importance of preserving the Cliff Walk as a national treasure and economic asset for Newport and the entire state. Senator Whitehouse underscored the critical role of federal intervention in countering coastal erosion, highlighting the significance of the PROTECT Grant program. Congressman Amo expressed enthusiasm for the influx of federal dollars, stressing the need for investments to ensure the longevity of the Cliff Walk for future generations.

The funds are earmarked for engineering and design work, as well as bolstering infrastructure vulnerable to climate change impacts. The PROTECT funds, made available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, represent a pivotal step in fortifying the nation’s infrastructure and promoting economic recovery.

While the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act garnered bipartisan support, it faced opposition from former President Donald Trump and a majority of Congressional Republicans. However, efforts to secure the Cliff Walk’s restoration have persisted, with Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee previously allocating $8 million from a green bond for repairs.

A 2018 study by Salve Regina University estimated the Cliff Walk’s economic impact at $200 million annually, further highlighting its significance beyond its natural beauty.

As plans for restoration unfold, stakeholders anticipate the revival of Newport’s beloved landmark, poised to continue enchanting visitors and residents alike for years to come.




Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!