By Jennifer Peltz
The future of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's sweeping proposals will largely rest with whoever is elected to serve at the city's next mayor.
Several mayoral candidates praised the mayor for thinking big, and Democrat Sal Albanese, Republican George McDonald and GOP front-runner Joe Lhota said they were inclined to pursue its major projects. Democratic front-runner Christine Quinn, who heads a City Council that is making its own proposals, called Bloomberg's report "a roadmap for future mayors."
Democrat Bill de Blasio, the public advocate, praised the all-encompassing approach but said officials need to ensure the plan does enough to help the poor and doesn't rely too much on uncertain federal support.
And Republican John Catsimatidis, who has questioned whether the effects of climate change are overstated, wondered in a statement whether the city could spend considerably less and still get adequate protection.
"The $19.5 billion price tag is a huge amount of money," said the billionaire candidate, whose businesses include oil, real estate and grocery stores.
In Lower Manhattan, a removable system of posts and slats could be deployed to form temporary flood walls rising from ground level along the waterfront. The height would depend on the ground elevation and potential surge. The approach is used along some Midwestern rivers and in the Netherlands, city officials said.
Bloomberg acknowledged some projects could block water views and otherwise prove controversial. But "if we're going to save lives and protect the lives of communities, we're going to have to live with some of the new realities," he said.
Community Board 1 had called for a study of storm surge barriers, but former chairwoman Julie Menin said Wednesday she was delighted with the removable walls.
"It's going to protect the communities," said Menin, who is running for Manhattan borough president.
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