New York State is already feeling the effects of climate change. This report outlines impact of flooding events in the past decade, and proposes the creation of a “Resilient Infrastructure Fund which includes a transparent and equitable approach to address climate impacts that communities throughout New York are already experiencing.
The new study finds that since the beginning of 2011, every county in New York State has had disaster declarations due to flooding—and 50 percent of counties have been inundated more than five times. Disaster declarations for these 19 events totaled $37 billion in state and federal aid for recovery efforts. With ninety percent of New York State’s population residing in waterfront communities, communities from Niagara County to Staten Island are experiencing the social and physical disruptions that flooding leaves behind. According to NYSERDA, by mid-century economic impacts from climate change in New York state will cost $10 billion annually.
The report calls to create a “Resilient Infrastructure Fund” to address the physical and social vulnerabilities exposed by increased flooding and calls for the infrastructure to maximize benefits to ecology, public health, and social resilience while reducing flood risk to transportation and other critical infrastructure, housing, and main streets. The proposed program also supports comprehensive planning to ensure that communities understand their long-term risks so they can direct growth to higher ground and support a comprehensive buy-out program for those areas which we cannot protect and instead need to move out of harms’ way.
It includes a three-stage comprehensive planning process to ensure inclusivity and cooperation between municipalities to support infrastructure projects that can demonstrate effective interventions which can be replicated in other areas of the state, and proposes an insurance surchage or bond act to pay for the fund.