Reimagining New York for a New Reality

In his State of the State address this week, New York’s Governor Cuomo detailed plans for spending $17 billion in federal disaster aid
to make the state much more resilient to the changing climate.

“Reimagining New York for a New Reality,” consists of 1,000-plus projects, ranging from rebuilding tidal wetlands to upgrading the electrical grid.

“The new reality in New York is we are getting hit by 100 year storms every couple of years. We have to wake up to that new reality by completely reimagining our state to be ready for any future disaster,” says Cuomo. “Our plan completely transforms the way we build and protect our infrastructure, safeguard our energy supply, prepare our citizens and first responders, and provide fuel and electricity."

Governor Andrew Cuomo

It has some unique ideas: 

  • Launch the nation’s first College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity as part of the state’s university system (SUNY);

  • Recruit and train 100,000 volunteers for a Citizen First Responder Corps that can jump into action during disasters.

  • $19 billion to set up the most sophisticated weather prediction system in the country to provide real time localized warnings about impending storms and floods. 125 interconnected weather stations around the state would track real time data on air, wind, soil and radiation conditions.

  • Create 10 community microgrids
    that operate independenty of the grid.

New York City’s mass transit system would get its biggest overhaul ever, with $5 billion allocated to fortify tunnels, bus and rail yards. And over 100 vulnerable bridges across the state will be replaced or repaired.

Cuomo has followed through on several proposals from last year’s address, such as opening the first substantial Green Bank in the nation and pumping up support for solar installations. He’s also initiated programs to return much of the most vulnerable areas back to nature.

While Governor Cuomo was giving his speech in Albany, outside  about 2000 people rallied against fracking in the state. Out of all the subjects covered in his speech, there wasn’t a mention of fracking.  A ban on fracking has been in place in NY State since 2008 – the governor has yet to make a decision on whether to make it permanent.

Details on the plan are here: 

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