Bloomberg announces $20 billion storm protection plan for New York City

In the long term, the proposals are expected to change the look of the city.

"This is a defining challenge of our future," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, defending his new $20 billion plan to protect the city from rising sea levels and storm surges. Following the widespread destruction from Hurricane Sandy last year, which cost the city an estimated $19 billion in damage and lost economic activity, the mayor's proposal would build a network of flood walls, levees, and bulkheads along the city's 520 miles of coast.

Half of the proposed cost has already been allocated from federal and city money; $5 billion will come from congressional aid allocated following Sandy; and $5 billion would still need to be raised. But as Bloomberg himself noted, the scope -- and cost -- of the plan would eventually far exceed the initial projection.

“This plan is incredibly ambitious — and much of the work will extend far beyond the next 203 days — but we refused to pass the responsibility for creating a plan onto the next administration,” he said in a speech at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. “This is urgent work, and it must begin now.”

Among the 438-page plans' 250 recommendations are the proposed construction of barriers to protect several of the city's vulnerable coastal areas, including Hunts Point, the hospitals on the East Side, Chinatown, the financial district, and Red Hook, Brooklyn. The plan also calls for a system of permanent levees on Staten Island, as well as for concrete bulkheads and dune systems to be built in various areas along the coast. It includes proposals to fortify and protect the city's power infrastructure, as well as to provide $1.2 billion to homeowners for renovations that would better protect their homes.

Photo: Daniel Schwen

via [The New York Times]

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