Rebuilding Task Force Releases Rebuilding Strategy For Sandy-Affected Region
President Obamaâ€™s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, chaired by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, has released a rebuilding strategyÂ toÂ serve as a model forÂ communities across the nationÂ facingÂ greater risksÂ from extreme weather and to continue helping the Sandy-affected region rebuild.Â Â The Rebuilding Strategy containsÂ 69Â policy recommendations, many of which have already been adopted, that willÂ help homeowners stay in and repair their homes, strengthen small businesses and revitalize local economies andÂ ensure entire communities are better able to withstandÂ and recover fromÂ future storms.
â€śI want to thank Secretary Donovan, the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, and the thousands of federal response and recovery personnel who have helped the region recover. We have cut red tape, piloted cutting edge programs and strengthened our partnership with state and local officials,” President Obama said. “While a great amount of work remains, we will stand with the region for as long as it takes to recover.”
â€śPresident Obama was clear that his Administration is committed to staying in the Sandy-impacted region until the work was done,â€ť Secretary Donovan said. â€śThis Rebuilding Strategy will protect families, small businesses and communities across the region, and the taxpayersâ€™ investment in them from the risks posed by sea level rise and more extreme weather eventsâ€”risks that are made worse by the reality of a changing climate.â€ť
Among the recommendations that will have the greatest impact on Federal funding isÂ a process to prioritize all large-scale infrastructure projects and map the connections and interdependencies between them as well as guidelines to ensure all of those projects are built to withstand the impacts of climate change.Â The Strategy also explores how to harden energy infrastructure to minimize power outages and fuel shortagesâ€”and ensure continuation of cellular serviceâ€”in the event of future storms.
The goal of these and otherÂ recommendationsÂ in the strategyÂ isÂ to:
- AlignÂ federalÂ funding with local rebuilding visions.
- Cut red tape and getÂ assistance to families, businesses, and communities efficiently and effectively, with maximum accountability.
- CoordinateÂ the efforts of the Federal, State, and local governments, with a region-wide approach to rebuilding.
- EnsureÂ the region is rebuilt in a way that makes it more resilient â€“ thatÂ is,Â better able to withstand future storms and other risks posed by a changing climate.
In addition to theÂ recommendationsÂ that areÂ directly linked to Sandy Supplemental funding, the Rebuilding Strategy also includes additional policy recommendations that will have a significant impact on how the region rebuilds. Finally, in recognition of the increased risk the region and the nation face from extreme weather events, the Rebuilding Strategy includes recommendations that, if implemented, will improve the nation’s ability to withstand and recover effectively from future flood-related disasters across the country.
Several of the policies and principles developed by the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding TaskÂ Force were also incorporated into PresidentÂ Obamaâ€™s Climate Action Plan, which laid out a series of responsible and common sense steps to prepare communities for the impacts of a changing climate (including the need for the Federal government to make investments based on the most up to date information about future risks).
As laid out in the Rebuilding Strategy, the Task Force has also taken steps to ensure the implementation of these recommendations, each of which will be carried out by a Federal Department or Agency or an existing interagency working group. Implementation will be tracked by a teamÂ which will also build on the Task Force Program Management Officeâ€™s work to track and release data on Federal spending from the Sandy supplemental funding bill.
To read highlights of this report, view thisÂ pdf.