Source: nyc.gov

Part of Bloomberg’s Proposed Plan (Source: nyc.gov)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ambitious and massive $20 billion storm protection program that seeks to safeguard New York City from future extreme weather catastrophes faces some serious obstacles before it becomes reality. The New York Times is reporting that the plan will have to pass through the ringer of City Hall, Albany, Washington, government agencies, zoning panels and community groups before construction ever begins.

Yesterday we reported on the stark climate data that inspired Bloomberg to come up with a massively detailed storm protection plan, that if enacted, would be his greatest legacy. The plan, which calls for massive construction projects and the placement of a network of seawalls and bulkheads across the city’s coastline, would dramatically alter the look and landscape of the city. The $20 billion price doesn’t figure in estimated billions more needed for the project as it will inevitably grow in size and scope. But the cost and construction would represent only the final hurdles of the ambitious plan.

Andy Darrell, New York regional director of the Environmental Defense Fund explained the key of bringing the plan together.

“Many of these solutions will require an unprecedented level of cooperation,” Darrell told the Times. “We know how to do these things. What we have to do is clear a path.”

Columbia geophysicist Klaus Jacob agreed with Darrell’s assessment.

“A plan is a plan is a plan,” Jacob told the Times. “But there will be a hard reality of how to put this into action. Many of the infrastructure systems that the city depends on are not under city control.”

With Bloomberg serving out his final term, part of the problem will be how much leadership the future mayor invests in the project. While candidates like Council Speaker Christine Quinn support the project, others, like Public Advocate Bill de Blasio raised questions.

“Many questions remain. As we review the plan, we must ensure that it truly serves the needs of low-income residents without a safety net, many of whom suffered the worst and longest-lasting impacts from Superstorm Sandy,” de Blasio told the Times.

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  • bill

    When was the last time a “big project” was accomplished in
    this country? The moon shot? Other than starting a few wars, we don’t seem to be
    able to agree on much. In this city, a 20 billion dollar project will mean
    everyone gets to have their input and hand out. Assuming only 5% waste, fraud,
    mismanagement and outright stealing, that is ONE BILLION DOLLARS to grab at. And
    that is what will drive this program forward!

  • bill2

    The general rule, and this is good for private and public: the bigger the project, the more likely it fails.

    It would be better to accomplish this in small, manageable stages. Coming up with a grand idea like this sows seeds of waste, improper design, corruption, and failure. I’m definitely against it, no matter what one thinks of the cause.

  • http://kibblesbits.wordpress.com/ Ann

    Infrastructure and water management is so important. I’ve seen some nice projects, not of this scale, but smaller areas. It involved buying and moving homes, but not only did it help the resident by keeping flooding at bay, there is some gorgeous parkland being created, and it is filling up with wonderful wildlife. It’s nice that the city is not flooding and running better, but the true beneficiaries are the property owners who can live in peace without constant flooding. Ad this was just an addition to the massive lock and dam system built, and the flood walls our city has. That was done a long time ago, but has saved our asses many times, unlike towns down the Mississippi that weren’t as lucky. Too bad it won’t happen in NYC.

  • nolastname

    It’s a good start for an asshole. Still need to elevate the sewer system or all the flood zones will continue to have problems. Nothing except raising things (homes/highways) way above sea level will solve the problem. Water moves and it moves through dirt….just ask the home owners still not back in their homes since Sandy. It ain’t over until the fat lady sings, she is singing ELEVATION! But, I guess Sheepshead Bay and the other coast lines are not worth that much of an investment.

  • guest

    Won’t someone think of the bike lanes?!?!