NEW YORK—With the memory of fighting for federal aid for Sandy recovery still fresh on his mind, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) says it is time to look at funding needed to protect New York for the possibility of future storms.
Schumer said on Wednesday that the legislative battle for the latter will be more difficult than the Sandy aid package—but he will not back down.
“We will need billions more in aid to protect New York,” Schumer said at an ABNY breakfast at the Conrad Hotel in Lower Manhattan. “We cannot let parts of New York be swept away.”
Schumer said following 9/11, then-President Bush promised $20 billion in additional aid. Schumer said the money provided economic stimulus, which kept businesses in Lower Manhattan afloat, and even provided a residential boom—something no one thought possible following the disaster.
Schumer believes the same model should be used to help New York recover from Hurricane Sandy.
The federal aid package already approved included $7 billion to help agencies such as the MTA get back up and running, as well modernized. But protecting the shoreline from raising sea levels for the future was not in the original aid package. Much of the language in the bill requires the city to rebuild exactly the same thing in the exact same place while, at best, using updated materials.
Schumer said while New York City and state both have their own initiatives for improving sustainability, he believes the key to getting more funding is to have a study done by the Army Corp of Engineers, a federal agency.
Schumer proposes a $20 million study, which he wants completed in 18 to 24 months. The study will look at the best ways to protect central business districts, something Schumer believes is critical to keeping the city economically on track.
“If we want to remain in the top spot, we have to do everything we can to stay open for business,” Schumer said.
Following the speech, Schumer said there was no assurance the Army Corp of Engineer study recommendations would be taken and acted upon.
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