U.S. Rep. Grace Meng and Senator Chuck Schumer applauded the House passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 7776), which includes the congresswoman’s legislation to address flooding in Queens.
Meng’s measure, which is part of the Water Resources and Development Act reauthorization, would authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to spend nearly $120 million to work with New York City in upgrading environmental infrastructure in the borough. These include projects to help improve water and wastewater infrastructure, stormwater management and combined sewer overflows.
“As climate change advances and we combat one of our greatest threats, New Yorkers are facing dangerous flooding and extreme rainfall events with more and more frequency,” Mayor Eric Adams said. “Representative Meng has fought tirelessly on behalf of Queens, and the passage of this legislation brings us one step closer to ensuring the Queens communities hit hardest by flooding have the resources to protect their homes, their streets and their neighborhoods.”
According to Meng, fighting for federal resources to help combat the flooding problem in the borough has been a top priority for her.
“Queens felt the brunt of Hurricane Ida last year and had to deal with more flooding caused by storms this year. Constituents shouldn’t have to worry if their homes, cars and streets will flood every time rain is forecasted, and the House’s passage of my legislation gets us one step closer to remedying the problem,” Meng said.
Hurricane Ida left 13 New York City residents dead and several neighborhoods severely damaged. Record-breaking rainfall of up to 3.15 inches overwhelmed the city’s sewers, which weren’t equipped to handle more than two inches. The storm took the lives of nearly a dozen Queens residents.
Following his visit to Queens to survey the damage caused by Ida, Schumer said he worked with Meng to deliver “this valuable federal support to improve flood protection” and upgrade the water and sewer systems.
The NDAA is the annual defense spending legislation, and the measure now heads to the Senate.
The Water Resources Development Act gives the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authority to carry out water development projects and studies, among other things. Allowing the Army Corps of Engineers to spend the money is the first step in the process. If signed into law, Congress would still need to provide funding for the Corps to carry out the environmental infrastructure projects in Queens.
Meng is New York’s senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, which provides funding for federal agencies and programs, including the Army Corps. This is the second time that the House approved Meng’s legislation. It previously passed in June.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards expressed his gratitude for Meng and Schumer’s leadership in securing funding for critically important infrastructure improvements for Queens.
“Queens has experienced far more than its fair share of devastating extreme weather in recent years, from Superstorm Sandy to Hurricane Ida and beyond, overwhelming our inadequate infrastructure,” Richards said. “But this vital pot of federal funding is nothing short of a game changer for the ‘World’s Borough’ as we continue to combat climate change with all our might.”