‘Global warming is upon us’: Local leaders call for more infrastructure funding in wake of deadly, historic storm

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NY leaders in Queens after Ida flooding

Gov. Kathy Hochul, joined by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Mayor Bill de Blasio in Queens on Sept. 2, 2021 after Ida brought deadly, historic flooding. (Gov. Hochul on Facebook)

QUEENS — “When you get two record rainfalls in a week, it’s not just coincidence…Global warming is upon us,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday after Tropical Depression Ida’s catastrophic flooding across the region Wednesday night.

Schumer, Gov. Kathy Hochul, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards joined together in Jamaica, Queens to address the deadly storm that took the lives of at least nine New Yorkers, most of whom were Queens residents who drowned in their own homes.

Schumer warned that these historic weather events, and their deadly consequences, will get “worse and worse and worse,” unless serious action is taken.

The governor agreed.

“This was the first time we’ve had a flash flood event of this proportion in the city of New York. …We haven’t experienced this before, but we should expect it the next time,” Hochul said. “That means we have to continue investments in infrastructure, working in partnership with our federal government…and get this done so we can take care of the drainage shortcomings in our streets.”

According to Hochul, President Joe Biden offered any assistance New York needs after Ida.

De Blasio called the storm a “wake up call.”

“What we’ve got to recognize is the suddenness, the brutality of storms now – It is different,” Mayor de Blasio said. “This is the biggest wake up call we could possibly get. We’re going to have to do a lot of things differently, and quickly.”

De Blasio stressed the city will need all the help possible from the federal government to change the approach to protecting human lives and property in the future.

“What we’re seeing is, we’re going to need more than we ever possible imagined,” the mayor said. “We’re talking, not billions, [but] tens of billions, even hundreds of billions to really make people safe.”

As far as federal relief for this storm, Hochul said the state would be doing on-the-ground assessments of the all the damage with the FEMA teams, in order to get a true accounting of the loss.

According to the governor, the president guaranteed he would approve any emergency declaration, ensuring federal money starts flowing to the cities, homeowners and renters, as well as small businesses affected most by the storm.

The state and local leaders on Thursday all stressed the importance of not needing relief to deal with the aftermath of this historic storm, but investing to plan ahead to be in a better position for the next.

Meanwhile in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy echoed a similar sentiment after touring destruction left behind after a tornado ripped through one neighborhood as Ida swept across the area.

“The federal money, really that’s the game changer, in terms of building the resilient infrastructure we need,” Murphy said.

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