A task force created in the wake of Superstorm Sandy in charge of developing a strategy for rebuilding areas hardest hit released a report Monday recommending 69 policy initiatives, and most had a simple warning: Plan for future storms.
The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force said communities along the coast should be under the assumption that floods will be more frequent, and spending money now on protective measures could end up saving money in the long run.
Some of the policy recommendations include developing an advanced electrical grid and to create better planning tools for storm-damaged areas.
"Decision makers at all levels must recognize that climate change and the resulting increase in risks from extreme weather have eliminated the option of simply building back to outdated standards and expecting better outcomes after the next extreme event," the report said.
Some of the group's key recommendations are already being implemented, including the creation of new flood-protection standards for major infrastructure projects built with federal money and the promotion of a sea-level modeling tool that will help builders and engineers predict where flooding might be an issue in the future.
The report didn't get too deep into the topic of what types of infrastructure may be best suited to protect communities along the shore, but it did say that the use of natural barriers like wetlands and sand dunes would help. The report also said better tools would still be needed to help evaluate what would work better in the long-term.
"I think the report is spot on," said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who was on the task force.
The governor's office said the state has already asked for more money to help pay for some of the ideas to be more resilient, but Malloy said it will also take more than money.
"Getting to stronger resiliency is not going to happen overnight and quite frankly it changes our approach to things," Malloy said.
Laurie Robinson's Milford home is in a holding pattern. When Irene hit, she did all the repairs and moved back in. But after Sandy destroyed it, there were new rules requiring her to raise it before her insurance company would help with repairs.
"I'm living in a camper because I can't afford these regulations that they are asking us to do," Robinson said.
Robinson told Eyewitness News that she is frustrated with the "miscommunication" and wants to move back into her home.
"I have to have a whole new mortgage again and I was just five years from paying it off," Robinson said.
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.
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