When Superstorm Sandy hit New York in 2012, the city's infrastructure shortcomings were front and center. The tristate area is still recovering from the damage caused by the storm (see the upcoming L train shutdown as one example). But a recent report from the Regional Plan Association (RPA) points out that the region is woefully unprepared for not only another hurricane, but also for the rising sea levels caused by climate change in the coming decades.
Ocean levels are expected to rise by two feet over the next 30 years, which, according to the report, would put roughly 10,000 homes in the tristate area permanently under water. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. By 2050, nearly 60 percent of the region's energy production will come from facilities located in areas prone to flooding, as well as four major airports.
Preventing New York and the surrounding area from being completely screwed in the coming decades won't be cheap—the RPA estimates that there is $28 billion worth of identified needs that have not been funded. From restoring wetlands to building new seawalls to retrofitting infrastructure, it's clear that the region needs a comprehensive plan to keep it from becoming a modern day Atlantis. The problem? There is no concrete, coordinated effort or governing body that is tackling the issue, which ought to cause concern for any New Yorker who doesn't want to see the city turn to shit.
In its report, the RPA is not just bemoaning the state of New York's infrastructure—it also presents a few solutions to solving the issue. The organization says that officials in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut should set up a “Regional Coastal Commission” that will align policies and projects to protect residents from the worst parts of climate change, and a set of "State Adaptation Trusts” to help pay for the necessary changes.
The plan is ambitious, but comes with a sense of urgency. If you'd like to continue enjoying dry land in New York, we highly suggest reading the RPA's report in full.