Ahead of the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer released the first “Sandy Infrastructure Inventory” of the historic $17 billion investment of federal Sandy aid funding to date, that has gone towards resilient green infrastructure, transportation, coastal protection and municipal infrastructure.
That number is likely to rise close to $25 billion as additional funding is allocated and FEMA negotiations reach completion. Schumer highlighted that Superstorm Sandy aid marks the largest injection of federal dollars into New York State infrastructure since the New Deal; as a point of comparison cited that New York only received $1.5 billion dollars in such aid from the Stimulus.
Schumer said until Sandy, national infrastructure funding had shifted away from New York in recent years, until he fought and secured a $60 billion dollar Sandy relief bill, which allowed for New York to recover and rebuild its infrastructure in flexible and novel ways, with a focus on making infrastructure stronger in the face of future storms. While recovery from Superstorm Sandy has had some significant flaws, this injection of federal dollars into New York’s infrastructure is a bright spot.
“Superstorm Sandy was a tragedy that wreaked havoc on the metropolitan area, but if there is a silver lining: a historic $17 billion dollar federal investment has been spent to make New York’s infrastructure more resilient, greener and stronger, particularly in our transportation systems, hospitals, public housing and coastlines,” said Senator Schumer.
“Much of today’s infrastructure dates back to the time of the New Deal, when a steady stream of unprecedented federal funding was directed towards roads, bridges, tunnels and more. Since then, national infrastructure funding has drifted away from New York. The Sandy Relief Bill finally restored New York as a preeminent site for federal capital infrastructure investment and I’m pleased that many much-needed infrastructure projects are now being funded.”
Schumer was joined by Peter Madonia, COO of the Rockefeller Foundation; Rob Freudenberg, Director of the Regional Plan Association (RPA) and Andrew Hollweck, Vice President of New York Building Congress.
“The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to stand with Senator Schumer to commend his leadership and the federal government on a $17 billion commitment to resilient infrastructure building right here in New York,” said Peter Madonia, COO, The Rockefeller Foundation. “The Foundation has been dedicated to building resilience around the world for the last decade, and we have seen time and again that the organizations, communities, businesses and people who plan and prepare for any crisis, will rebound faster. With this announcement, New York City is living what we call the resilience dividend – where we take stock, and invest now to be safe and save dollars later.”
Over $5B was appropriated to Army Corps projects in the Sandy Bill, with over $2.1B for New York Army Corps projects. One of the main goals of the Sandy relief package was to allow the Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild and fortify the New York coastline.
To date the Corps has successfully repaired many existing storm protection and navigation projects in New York for a total of approximately $250 million. This includes repairing and restoring beach profiles from Staten Island to Montauk by placing over 7 million cubic yards of sand.
· Gilgo Beach: 1.5M CY sand fill ($21.3M);
· Rockaway Beach: 3.5M CY sand fill ($36.5M);
· Fire Island West of Shinnecock Inlet: 450k CY sand fill ($6.9M);
· Fire Island Westhampton: 1M CY sand fill ($15.2M);
· Coney Island: 600k CY sand fill ($7.3M).
The Corps is also currently finalizing studies to construct permanent coastal protection projects along New York’s coastal communities. The Corps is expected to spend close to $2B on dune, levee and seawall projects at Fire Island, Long Beach, Rockaway, Coney Island Montauk Point, Staten Island, Bayville, Asharoken and Hashamomuck Cove over the next couple years.
To date the Corps awarded a $25M contract to begin work on groins and jetties at Coney Island and $48M contract, the first of three, for an emergency dune on Fire Island.