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Biden And Cuomo Urge Importance Of Improving Infrastructure

Lucas Willard

Vice President Joe Biden joined Governor Andrew Cuomo in Albany today to discuss rebuilding New York state and strengthening infrastructure affected by extreme weather.

Vice President Biden and Governor Cuomo held the press conference in the Red Room at the Capital building to discuss the work planned to make New York’s infrastructure systems more storm resilient, reflecting on the devastation brought on by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and Tropical Storms Irene and Lee  in 2011.

The Governor said the rebuilding plan required government to ‘reimagine’ the infrastructures of New York.

"This was a special challenge for us," said Cuomo. "Because it called for us to literally reimagine the state in light of what we went through with Hurricane Sandy - Superstorm Sandy, storms Irene and Lee, and taking those lessons, and taking, really, that trauma, and reshaping our vision of New York through that experience."

Governor Cuomo outlined New York’s recovery plan in areas of improving weather detection, rebuilding and redesigning transportation systems, including bridges and airports, and improving the state’s energy systems. The Governor also outlined the need for improvements in wastewater systems, increased coastal protection, reevaluation of home construction, rebuilding communities, and emergency preparedness.

Cuomo said the work would not be possible without partnership with the federal government.

"This wouldn't happen without the Federal Government, and without their support of the supplemental appropriation, without the Federal Government cutting the bureaucracy the way they did, and doing the coordination that made today possible," said Cuomo.

In January 2013, Congress approved $60 billion for the Superstorm Sandy recovery effort.

Vice President Biden said the Empire State’s mission to rebuild better should be reflected across the country.

"The governor knows that we not only we have to reimagine New York for a New York reality, we have to reimagine America for an American reality," said Biden. "And the reality is we've got to get back on our game."

Biden used an example of expansion of the Panama Canal to allow larger ships to pass through, only to be unable to make stops at most of America’s ports and harbors as one way the country is lagging behind.

"We're going to be left behind," said Biden. "The competition in the 21st century is different." 

In his closing remarks, Governor Cuomo nodded towards the state legislative leaders also at the conference and said the rebuilding effort will be a unified partnership.

"Speaker Silver is a good Assemblyman, he's not bad with a hammer and nails, you have to see Dean Skelos, he's a pretty good electrician," joked Cuomo.

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Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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