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Infrastructure work will better prepare New York for next big storm, Schumer says

A host of infrastructure projects -- including raising electrical substations on Long Island and fortifying Fire Island dunes -- that total $17 billion will make New York better prepared for the next massive storm, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday.

"It's making New York bigger, better, stronger, more storm-resistant than it ever was before," Schumer (D-N.Y.) said at a news conference at Staten Island Ferry plaza in lower Manhattan. "I believe we will be much stronger when, God forbid, or if, God forbid, the next Sandy comes."

He released an "infrastructure inventory" of multimillion-dollar construction projects approved and funded to make the state resistant to events like superstorm Sandy, which struck New York two years ago.

He added that the funding is the most significant investment in the state's infrastructure since New Deal-era projects implemented by New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and master planner Robert Moses.

The list includes Long Island initiatives such as repairing the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant in Nassau County, removing nitrogen from waters, expanding sewer systems in Suffolk County, fortifying Fire Island with dunes and placing sand fill on beaches.

The $17 billion allocated for New York's infrastructure is part of a $60 billion federal appropriation for New York and New Jersey as part of recovery funding for Sandy.

Schumer was joined by Peter Madonia, chief operating officer of the Rockefeller Foundation; Robert Freudenberg, director of energy and environmental programs for the Regional Plan Association; and Andrew Hollweck, vice president of New York Building Congress.

"Every day a subway line doesn't work, the power goes out, a business has to close, it weakens the city," Madonia said. "The money the senator and his colleagues helped secure will prevent disruptions like that."

The projects also include making the Staten Island Ferry terminal and other transportation entities flood-proof and raising electrical substations on Long Island.

Schumer said the money and projects are a good start but others are under consideration, such as a gate in New York harbor. "Obviously, we could always use more," he said.

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