Congressman floats multi-billion dollar retractable wall project for NYC

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New York Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler on Thursday floated the idea of surrounding Lower Manhattan with retractable walls as a way to avoid another storm disaster.

Appearing on Current TV’s “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer,” Nadler offered his analysis of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy to his state.

“We clearly need to prepare, and New York is not prepared,” Nadler said.

“So we have to start thinking of things that we haven’t thought about,” he continued. “For example, maybe we ought to have retractable sea walls that go up 15 or 16 feet, all around lower Manhattan. We ought to make the subways more resistant to water. We ought to maybe close off tunnels in ways that mean they can’t be flooded.”

The key, Nadler said, is spending enough money, but he conceded there would be cost-benefit concerns.

“Of course there has been this proposal for a number of years that we should do what Great Britain did in the Thames and what Rotterdam did, and put up sea gates to hold out the storm surge. That might cost $10 billion, it’s a very expensive proposition. On the other hand, how much damage would it avert?”

“[The cost of Hurricane Sandy] is big enough to warrant those kinds of investments if you believe it’s reasonably likely to occur before the next 100 years,” he added. “Which I think, unfortunately, we have reason to believe.”

The New York congressman explained that, while it is often difficult to negotiate funding for large projects, when large disasters like Sandy wreck havoc, the country often finds the money.

“We just had the disaster, it’s going to cost us more than $10 billion, we’re going to find the money,” he said.

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Caroline May