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After Meeting With the Army Corps, Schumer & de Blasio Announce Feds Have Heeded Their Call By Moving Full Steam Ahead on Vital Rockaway Reformulation Project for Ocean and Bay Sides 

Under New Agreement, Draft Report Will Be Issued For Public Comment in August & Final Report In November; Speedier Timeline Means Construction Can Begin Next Year Instead of 2020 

Schumer, de Blasio: Army Corps Acceleration Means Sea Wall, Jetties & Groins Will Be Delivered to Rockaway On Greatly Accelerated Timeline

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that, after their push, and following Schumer-secured vital construction funds, a greatly expedited timeline on the Rockaway Reformulation Study has been secured. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the draft report will now be issued in August, followed by a final report in November, allowing for construction in the Rockaways to start as early as next year on the Atlantic side and Jamaica Bay neighborhoods. After Sandy, Schumer pushed for and secured full federal funding for this much-needed resiliency project to better protect the whole Rockaway peninsula from storms and floods. In February, Mayor de Blasio met with the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Washington D.C. and secured a commitment to expedite construction while Senator Schumer secured an additional $730 million to ensure the Army Corps had the funds available to deliver coastal resilience projects in the region, including the Rockaway Reformulation as well as projects on Staten Island and Long Island. This builds on the earlier work by Schumer and de Blasio to secure a commitment from the Army Corps to evaluate coastal storm protections for Southern Brooklyn.

“The residents of the Rockaways and Southern Brooklyn need better protections ASAP, and they are justifiably scared and tired of waiting. This agreement with the Army Corps, forged by Mayor de Blasio and I, will take the flood protection projects from the back burner to the front. In addition to the hundreds of millions we secured by reprogramming hundreds of millions in vital construction funds for this project, this agreement will mean that we can greatly accelerate the actual building of vital protections like a sea wall on the bay side, jetties and groins and more to protect every resident of the Rockaways from future storms and flooding,” said Senator Schumer. “For far too long, the Rockaways have been waiting for a solution. As a strong supporter of this project, I commend the Army Corps for heeding our call and moving full steam ahead on this vital project.”

“New York City’s shoreline is our first line of defense against climate change. We are grateful that the US Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to accelerate its work to protect our coastal neighborhoods. By working with communities and local leaders, we are continuing to deliver on our commitment to build a more sustainable, more resilient, and more equitable city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The Rockaway Reformulation Study, which Schumer and de Blasio have long supported, will ultimately determine the solution for long-term erosion control and coastal protection projects along the Atlantic Coast, between East Rockaway Inlet, Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay. While the reformulation study dates back to a 2003 agreement with NYSDEC, it has been subjected to various delays in funding and implementation. However in the Sandy Supplemental Appropriation of 2013, Senator Schumer secured full federal funding to complete the Reformulation study and construction of the preferred alternative.  Initially, the Sandy relief bill that was signed into law required only that the feds pick up 65% of the project. Immediately after the bill’s passage, Schumer began working with the Army Corps and Office of Management and Budget to re-categorize the effort as “ongoing construction” and, therefore, eligible for full federal funding.  This jump started this vitally-needed yet long-stalled plan to better protect the whole Rockaway peninsula.

In February, Schumer announced that he secured $730 million in federal funding for the construction of Sandy-related Army Corps projects, including vital storm protection projects in Rockaway and Jamaica Bay. The $730 million in funding was previously trapped in limbo, unable to fund the construction of critical mitigation work throughout New York. Schumer successfully transferred these funds in the just-passed budget so that they can be used towards the construction of desperately needed coastline protection projects in New York. Schumer explained the additional $730 million will help to ensure critical pieces of the Rockaway and Jamaica Bay projects move forward including the dunes, groins, and beach fill along the Atlantic Shoreline and the high frequency flooding risk reduction measures in Jamaica Bay.

Earlier this month, Schumer met with Colonel Asbery, head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District. Prior, Mayor de Blasio met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s General Semonite. As a result of these personal meetings, the Army Corps has agreed to expediting the project’s timeline enabling the construction agreements for the Atlantic Shorefront and Jamaica Back Bay to start next year. Schumer and de Blasio explained that once the Army Corps releases the draft report in August, impacted residents and business owners will be able to review the plans and provide public comment.