Coastal communities commit billions towards flood defense

Officials in East and Gulf coast cities are pressing the government to commit billions of dollars on projects designed to protect their regions from rising sea levels.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, around a third of the country’s population lives along the Atlantic or Pacific coastline, or the Gulf of Mexico, the Wall Street Journal reported.

What with numerous deadly storms slamming into those regions in recent years, coastal communities are well aware that they aren’t prepared for more intense weather events that could cause sea levels to rise in the future. Examples of the devastation such flooding can cause in recent years have been seen in Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas.

In the wake of recent years’ storms, the governor of Louisiana recently pledged to use $55 million in state surplus plus an additional $300 million from offshore oil revenues to pay for improvements to coastal defenses. Meanwhile in Florida the governor there has decided to invest even more, committing $2.5 billion in state funds to protect the Everglades from flood damage. And Massachusetts’ has proposed increasing taxes on real estate transfers by 50 percent in order to raise $1 billion in the next ten years. The cash will be used to build more flood control systems and strengthen sea walls.

U.S. cities are increasingly looking for ways to fund new projects to protect themselves from flooding as fears over climate change grow. Some of the largest cities in the nation are rushing through projects that aim to prevent or control flooding, as well as other weather-related risks, a report from Moody’s Investor Services revealed.

“People every day are seeing the effect that extreme weather is having on businesses, the economy, on infrastructure and human lives,” said Carolyn Berndt, the program director for sustainability for the National League of Cities. “There is really no choice except to take action.”

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