NYC Flooding During Hurricane Sandy, Flickr

NYC Mayor Proposes $10B Plan to Flood-Proof Manhattan as Climate Risk Grows

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a $10 billion plan to push out the lower Manhattan coastline as much as 500 feet, or two city blocks, to protect from flooding that’s expected to become more frequent as global temperatures rise.

The project would protect the South Street Seaport and the Financial District, along the eastern edge of lower Manhattan, an area just 8 feet (2.4 meters) above the water line, de Blasio said. Portions of the extended land would be at 20 feet above sea level. The city can’t build flood protection on the existing land because it’s too crowded with utilities, sewers and subway lines, he said.

“The new land will be higher than the current coast, protecting the neighborhoods from future storms,” according to the plan de Blasio announced Thursday. “Extending the shoreline into the East River is the only feasible way to protect these vulnerable and vital parts of the city.”

Sandy Aftermath

The neighborhood was flooded in 2012 by a storm surge brought by Hurricane Sandy, which caused $19 billion in damage to real estate and infrastructure. The area includes Wall Street, center of one of the world’s financial capitals, $60 billion of property, 75 percent of the city’s subway lines, 90,000 residents and 500,000 jobs. The extension will secure lower Manhattan from rising seas through 2100, de Blasio said.

“It’s one of the core centers of the American economy, the financial capital of the world, and it should be a national priority. But the fact is, it is not,” said de Blasio, who has said he’s considering a 2020 run for president. “This should be a case where the federal government is asking us how it can help. That’s just not happening.”

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