Protecting NYC: Mayor’s Plan, Successor’s Question

NEW YORK (AP) -

A $20 billion plan to gird New York with levees, flood gates and other defenses is a bold stroke from a mayor who saw the city through Superstorm Sandy and has championed preparedness for global warming. But the future of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s sweeping proposals will largely rest with his successor.

With less than seven months left in office, Bloomberg plans to start on projects, but he acknowledged much of the work would extend beyond his term.

“It’s up to you,” he told a crowd at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, “to hold the next administration accountable for getting it done.”

With that said, the ideas face an uncertain landscape amid the bevy of candidates seeking Bloomberg’s job, including at least one who suggests the proposals may be needlessly expensive.

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 called Bloomberg’s report “a roadmap for future mayors.”

Republican John Catsimatidis, who has questioned whether the effects of climate change are overstated, wondered 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.