Tucked away on the west side of the small town of Broad Channel in the middle of Jamiaca Bay is a narrow, dead end, street that goes by the name of West 12th Road. Those of us who live there know that the nice part about living in a small town is that when you are not quite sure what is going on, someone else always does!
[Peter J. Mahon West 12th Road, Broad Channel]
In hopes of avoiding future Hurricane Sandy disasters, Gov. Cuomo said Tuesday the state plans to plug every hole in the city’s subway system.
Cuomo, during a presentation at the state Capitol with Vice President Joe Biden, said that there are more than 540 openings in the subway system that need to be closed ahead of major storms to avoid problems.
The entire system, from trainyards to the tunnels, will be retrofitted as part of a $5 billion upgrade, he said.
"We have over 540 openings to the subway system and our challenge is to come up with a way to close all 540 openings before a flood and before the system fills,” he said.
Subway tunnels and stairways will have sealing devices designed to hold back flood waters that wreaked havoc during Hurricane Sandy and caused a multi-day shutdown of the system.
He also said the pumping system will be upgraded.
“We're going to do the most fundamental redesign of the subway system since it was created over 100 years ago,” Cuomo said. “And we’re going to retrofit the entire system, every facet of the system.”
The city’s two major airports will also be upgraded while 100 bridges upstate will be repaired or replaced to ensure they can withstand future severe storms.
With Biden and state legislative leaders by his side, Cuomo outlined the statewide devastation caused by natural disasters since he took over in 2011.
He said the state will spend $16 billion of the federal relief money it has received on more than 1,000 projects across the state to better prepare communities from future problems.
To avoid future fuel crisises like the one following Sandy, Cuomo said there will be more generators available for gas stations as well as regional fuel reserves that can be tapped if tankers can’t make it into New York.
He said some electrical substations and even roadways will be elevated, more natural buffer zones created and moveable storm walls for coastal areas built. Ten "microgrids" will be created in different regions of the state to ensure there is a power supply if the main grids go down.
On Staten Island, Oakwood Beach's 321 homes are being bought out and the community will be turned into wetlands to help buffer future floods, Cuomo said
Cuomo said the state’s weather detection system will also be greatly expanded in the hopes of more accurately predicting major storms.
The state is also creating a first-of-its kind college run by the state university system will be created focusing exclusively on emergency preparedness and homeland security.
The state National Guard will also begin training as many as 100,000 people to create a “citizens first responder corp.” that can help in local communities.
“We have done a wholesale re-imagination of the state and the fundamental services,” Cuomo said.
While Biden and Cuomo have both been mentioned as possible 2016 presidential candidates, the two were warm to each other.
Biden praised Cuomo for being a “calm voice” during the storms and for showing national leadership in moving the state forward post Hurricane Sandy.
“We have to rebuild in a way that we will not be victimized by similar storms again," Biden said.