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Idea of the Day: More Federal Investment Is Necessary to Protect Communities from Extreme Weather

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Seven months after the second most costly hurricane in history, Mayor Bloomberg proposed investing $19.5 billion to make his city much more resilient to future extreme weather events. More than one-quarter of these resources will come from federal funds included in the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, which provides aid to New York, New Jersey, and other affected states to help them recover from Superstorm Sandy. New Jersey is also investing significant portions of its Superstorm Sandy federal aid in resilience efforts, particularly along the Jersey Shore. These investments will make New York and New Jersey homes, businesses, infrastructure, and coastal areas more resistant to damage from future storms, sea-level rise, and other climate-change impacts.

Unlike New York City and New Jersey, many communities lack the financial resources to become more resilient to future extreme weather events, and the federal government woefully underfunds such resilience needs. A new CAP analysis estimates that the federal government spent a total of only $22 billion on general resilience efforts from fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2013. The Obama administration requested an additional $13 billion for mitigation efforts in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York after Superstorm Sandy, but it is difficult to determine the actual mitigation spending from this sum. The federal government does not have a comprehensive tally of its spending for community resilience and other pre-disaster mitigation programs.

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This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

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