The Rockaway Beach boardwalk was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. About $300 million will be needed to restore the beach and boardwalk including replenishing and rebuilding 6.2 miles of beach along the peninsula. Coney Island, Rockaway Beach, Long Beach and Fire Island will receive the funds necessary to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy, according to early congressional report. (Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)
The federal government announced plans to cover the full cost of four coastal rebuilding projects in New York City and Long Island, a decision that will save the state and city hundreds of millions of dollars.
In an interim report obtained by the Daily News, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it plans to cover 100% of the cost of restoration projects on Coney Island, Rockaway Beach, Long Beach Island and Fire Island. Those projects are estimated to collectively cost more than $1 billion. While the report is not finalized, a congressional aide said federal officials have indicated the decision to fully cover the cost of the projects has been made.
Under legislation approved earlier this year to provide billions of dollars in Sandy aid, the federal government was required to cover 65% of the cost of the projects -- with the rest left to New York State and municipal and county governments. But it was not clear if local communities had the money to move the projects forward. Members of the New York delegation then seized on language in the legislation that allows full funding of "ongoing construction" projects. They used that provision to lobby the feds to cover all of the projects' costs.
Long Island Reps. Pete King, Carolyn McCarthy and Tim Bishop pushed the Office of Management and Budget and the Army Corp. on the issue.
"I continue to make every effort to ensure that Nassau and Suffolk counties receive the maximum amount of Sandy funding possible," King said.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he made dozens of calls to Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients and to Jo-Ellen Darcy, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. Schumer told The News the projects could have stalled without the full funding.
"It basically ensures they get built rather than making it a maybe proposition, and it benefits city taxpayers," Schumer said.
"I spent a month-and-a-half on this."
The Coney Island project, estimated to cost $48 million, will repair lost beach along a three-mile stretch between W. 37th St. and Brighton Beach, and add a higher dune and additional protections.
The Rockaway Beach project, estimated at $300 million, involves replenishing and rebuilding 6.2 miles of beach along the peninsula.
The Long Beach project, worth $150 million, would add dune protection along nine miles of beach from Jones Inlet to East Rockaway Inlet.
The Fire Island project, estimated to cost $750 million, involves enhancing dunes and other protections along a 83-mile stretch of coast from Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point.
destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, estimated to cost $1 billion
New York Daily News - March 12, 2013 - By Dan Friedman