A bipartisan rebuilding strategy for Long Island

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The rebuilding strategy also acknowledges that, in light of new threats posed by climate change and sea level rise, we cannot simply build back the way things were. In the aftermath of Sandy, we saw firsthand what works best for protecting our homes and communities. For example, shore communities without sand dunes suffered greater damage than neighboring communities that had taken protective measures. These types of efforts are most effective when communities work together.

We agree that regional coordination is common sense, and are working together to make that a reality. If several towns working on beach replenishment projects come together to share the expense of bringing in large equipment, they could save millions of dollars. Regional coordination is smart fiscal policy as well as smart resilience policy.

To that point, the next round of CDBG-DR funding is expected to be announced shortly. These funds are intended to be targeted at rebuilding and securing regional infrastructure needs for Long Island’s future. We have worked closely with Secretary Donovan and Governor Cuomo to ensure that Long Island gets the necessary federal investment dollars to meet the infrastructure challenges laid out in the rebuilding strategy, and look forward to that announcement. Our cash-strapped towns and villages need these federal dollars to make the critical investments that will protect our communities for decades to come.

In the weeks after the storm, the two of us hosted Secretary Donovan on a tour of impacted communities. Though we still have a long road ahead of us, the progress of our communities since that day has been extraordinary. In both Nassau and Suffolk counties, our beaches and parks have been open this summer, and our vital infrastructure systems are back up and running.

Although the majority of homeowners have returned to their homes and our small businesses have reopened, we know there is still much work to be done. We must rebuild our communities smarter and stronger. The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy will help us make that vision into a reality.

Mangano is the Nassau County executive, and Bellone is the Suffolk County executive. To view the full Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy, visit www.HUD.gov.

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