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De Blasio's Risky Bet on Climate Change

The Bond Buyer

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's long game for his $10 billion Lower Manhattan resilience initiative hinges on a huge variable -- whether large-scale federal funding will be available.

"From the perspective of the city of New York alone, this would be extraordinarily difficult to fund," de Blasio told reporters Thursday at Metropolitan College of New York on West Street.



Any request for additional federal dollars could clash against the proposed $30 billion Gateway tunnel project for funding and water access, said resilience expert Alan Rubin, a principal with Blank Rome Government Relations.

"The real difference is that [de Blasio's] got Gateway competing for those dollars," Rubin said. "There's already a commitment on the part of New Jersey and New York, and there's a federal portion that must be anted up."

According to Rubin, funding through the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, with its resilience and mitigation guidelines, could be more realistic.

"There is certainly a need and the ideas are well thought out," Rubin said of the de Blasio plan. Concerns beyond cost, he added, include a variety of mult-istate jurisdictional complexities. "Storm surge doesn't distinguish between states. Hoboken [N.J.], Manhattan ... all of these folks have to be engaged."

Other variables include the request-for-proposals process. "Do you use the Danish models of all government monies and if you include private funding how does the ownership become handled?"

"De Blasio's Risky Bet on Climate Change," by Paul Burton was published in The Bond Buyer on March 15, 2019.