February 19, 2019
Major victory clears the path for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct 5.3 mile seawall to protect waterfront communities in Staten Island
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, United States Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, and United States Congressman Max Rose today announced that they have successfully brokered a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and New York State to lock in funding for the construction of the Staten Island Levee project. This PPA also ensures that the $400 million federal contribution to this $615 million project is unlikely to be re-allocated should the federal government declare a national emergency on the southern border.
“This is a huge win for the people of Staten Island, who will be better protected from future storms,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “It is critical that we invest in the resiliency of our city in the face of climate change. I want to thank the US Army Corps of Engineers, and my colleagues in Congress, Senator Schumer and Congressman Rose, as well as Governor Cuomo, for working together to make this happen for our constituents.”
"This innovative project will protect Staten Islanders from future devastating storms, enhance access to the shore, create thriving wetlands and bring peace of mind to the diverse communities that live along the coastline," said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. "Today's agreement will allow New York to move forward with this critical resiliency project, which will ensure vulnerable communities have the resources they need to build back stronger after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and better prepare for the next 100-year storm."
“The signing of this PPA was the final key to locking in hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funding for the desperately needed Staten Island Seawall project. Now that the bureaucratic hurdles have all been jumped, the Army Corps can finally move forward with designing and building a more resilient shoreline that will protect our Island, homeowners and local businesses against the kind of devastating flooding we saw during Superstorm Sandy,” said United States Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.
“Getting the seawall built as quickly as possible is a top priority, which is why it was my first piece of legislation and I’ve been pushing the Corps and the Administration on this since my first day in office. This agreement will finally allow construction so Staten Island families can get some relief before the next storm season – but until we pass the easement into law and construction is complete, there’s more work to be done,” said Congressman Max Rose.
The Staten Island Levee project is comprised of a series of interconnected levees, berms, and seawalls stretching from Fort Wadsworth to Great Kills on Staten Island's East Shore. This system, which is designed to withstand a 300-year storm, will protect against the growing threats of sea-level rise and storm surge and will dramatically strengthen the resilience of the area, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy. According to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) study, the Staten Island Levee project is projected to reduce damages to the area by $30 million annually over a 50 year timeline.
USACE, which is responsible for managing the design and construction the project, has made significant progress in recent years by completing a feasibility study, conducting geotech and groundwater monitoring, and starting final project design. USACE plans to break ground on the project in 2020 and expects full completion in 2024.
In addition to the $400 million in federal funds allocated to the project, New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation is contributing $150 million and New York City is contributing $65 million in City Capital funds.
"This project is Staten Island's most important infrastructure effort, and this collaborative, all-hands-on-deck approach by every level of government is heartening and must continue until the job is complete,” said Staten Island Borough President James S. Oddo.
Senator Diane Savino said, "Ensuring the seawall is built quickly and effectively is a top priority for all involved. We must ensure that we make every effort to mitigate any future damage to the homes of residents of Staten Island's East Shore in future storm seasons.”
“These federal and city funds added to the $150 million we secured in the 2017-2018 State Budget complete the funding needed for the project to move forward. After decades of fear and waiting, the people of Staten Island's shoreline communities will soon be receiving the protection they need and deserve. This is a true testament to all three levels of government working together,” said Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis.
"It has been a long time coming, but this agreement gives Staten Islanders some assurance that the East Shore seawall will finally be built, and restricts the funding so that it can only be used for that purpose. I am extremely pleased our federal representatives made this happen and look forward to continue working with them to bring this critical project to fruition,” said Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo.