The Council of the City of New York
Office of Costa Constantinides
(718) 274-4500

For Immediate Release
January 23, 2016
Contact: Shachar Sharon

Constantinides Chairs Committee Hearing on Richards’ Flood Mitigation Bill

New York City Hall – City Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, today held a hearing on INT. 1198. The bill, sponsored by Council Member Donovan Richards, would ensure that the Department of Environmental Protection submits a plan for mitigating flood-prone areas in Southeastern Queens.

The mandated plan must include funding, a timeline, and annual progress reports on implementation of the plan for community districts 12, 13, and 14 in Southeastern Queens. These communities have gone decades without investment to quell long-standing flooding issues and was severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Key infrastructure including storm sewers, catch basins, and street repavings will be included as part of a $1.6 billion investment by the de Blasio Administration and the Council.

Constantinides, a co-sponsor of the bill, said, “After decades without investment in infrastructure in Southeast Queens, families in the area will finally see working sewer systems, catch basins, and other necessary amenities. This new infrastructure will also withstand severe storms that have become more common due to climate change, including flooding in low-lying areas. Our legislation ensures this plan for infrastructure and mitigation in Southeastern Queens will help protect the area from dangerous flooding and track progress. I commend my colleague Council Member Donovan Richards for his leadership.”

“For decades, communities in Southeast Queens lived with the fact that a slight rain could end in their home being flooded, but in 2015, a historic 10-year plan by Mayor de Blasio committed $1.5 billion to build out the sewer system that never caught up with the population growth in Southeast Queens,” said Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton). “This bill will ensure that the plan is implemented in a timely fashion and the community can be updated on the progress on a regular basis. While the allocation was a huge step, we just want to be able to keep a closer eye on how far along projects are or if the Departments of Environmental Protection and Design and Construction are meeting their deadlines. I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio and former DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd for hearing the concerns of Southeast Queens residents and finally addressing systemic issues that were neglected for far too long. I’d also like to thank Council Member Constantinides for hearing this legislation that will truly make an impact in our home borough of Queens.”

The Department of Environmental Protection offered supportive feedback for the legislation at the committee hearing.

Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on six additional committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.

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