NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The U.S. Senate was set to vote Monday on the $50.5 billion aid package for Superstorm Sandy relief, and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the package will provide aid for long-delayed coastline protection projects.
“We have to build beaches, sea walls, jetties, and dunes,” Schumer said.
Schumer said the work should have been undertaken years ago.
“We’ve just never had the money to do it and unfortunately, that made these areas with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people vulnerable,” he said.
As WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported, Schumer said one project that will be aided by passing the package will involve the Army Corps of Engineers building up a buffer lake armor along the coastline on Long Island and in New York City.
“The Sandy bill allows us to repair the holes in the armor, make it thicker and stronger than before, and in many cases, put in new protections that didn’t exist before,” Schumer said at a Sunday news conference.
There are almost two dozen other critical infrastructure projects the Sandy bill will help fund, Schumer said.
Among the others are protection for the South Shore of Long Island, repairs at Rockaway Beach, and dredging New York Harbor, he said.
The dredging project would require $75 million. But it would alleviate scenes after the storm where cars were lined up for blocks in desperate need of gasoline, Schumer said.
“One of the main reasons we couldn’t get gasoline into the harbor in the early days, and there were long lines for gasoline throughout the New York area, was that these channels were blocked,” he said.
Northeast lawmakers from both parties hope to win Senate approval of the measure and send it to President Barack Obama, who has said he would sign it.
The House passed it last week.
The lawmakers said the money is urgently needed to recover from one of the region’s worst storms, especially in the hardest hit states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Fiscal conservatives said the bill would add to the nation’s debt unless offsetting spending cuts are made elsewhere to pay for the Sandy aid.
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