$52.6 trillion. That’s how much the US Army Corps of Engineers thinks it will take to protect the New York City area from coastal storms.
Its tentatively selected plan to address the problem, known as 3B, includes nearly $18 billion for breakwaters and seawalls and more than $14 billion for levees and floodwalls, among many other changes.
“There is no question that climate change is going to cost us. We’re going to have to pay to dig ourselves out of the hole that we’re in,” Rohit Aggarwala, chief climate officer for the city of New York, told CNBC.
Funding for this proposal would require congressional approval. The US Army Corps of Engineers said 65% of the funding will come from federal sources, while 35% will come from non-federal sponsors such as the states of New York and New Jersey. But experts say this is unlikely to directly affect local taxes.
“It’s unclear how these things will affect property taxes. Whether it’s the flood or the wall, these are changes to the places that we live,” Robert Freudenberg, vice president of energy and environment at the Regional Plan Association, told CNBC, implying that there doesn’t seem to be a way to avoid some additional costs.
On changing the look of the region, Aggarwala said, “You can’t keep the ocean at bay and have the coastline look exactly the same.” However, he explained that along with preparing for climate change, the city still wants residents to have access to waterfront activities, the ferry system and beautiful views.
Plan 3B offers the “best bang for the buck,” said Bryce Wisemiller, a project manager for the US Army Corps of Engineers’ New York District. He said this is the most cost-effective plan to protect the region from storms that are likely to happen only once in 100 years.
Residents can explore the 3B plan, as well as suggested plans 2, 3A, 4 and 5, at the Army Corps’ interactive website. Wisemiller said the group is looking for all the feedback it can get by the current comment closing date of March 7.
Watch the video here to learn more about the plan to protect the New York City area from coastal storms.