BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Gov. Dannel Malloy and the state’s Congressional delegation are applauding a $54 million federal grant to support flood and disaster prevention projects in Bridgeport and New Haven.
Bridgeport won the lion’s share of the money — about $38 million — to support disaster preparedness efforts in the city’s South End, which has been ravaged by Hurricane Sandy and other large storms in recent years.
“This substantial, competitive federal award will do more than just repair past damage – it will help ensure the South End will thrive for decades to come while also funding comprehensive planning efforts to proactively protect and preserve all of our coastal communities,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
The grant stems from a federal Housing and Urban Development competition for resilient infrastructure and housing projects.
The Bridgeport funds will support a pilot program of the Connecticut Connections Coastal Resilience Plan.
It will be used to elevate University Avenue and create a protective earthen berm against storm tides, construct a community center to be used for future recovery efforts and study the South End's energy infrastructure.
The remaining funds will help develop guidelines for incorporating flood mitigation technologies in New Haven and extend the existing coastal resilience plan to other communities in Fairfield County and New Haven County.
Malloy said the state has transformed the way it responds to emergencies, and the funding will allow for more modernization.
“Global warming is real – the science is real,” he said. “And the more we all acknowledge that reality, the more prepared we can be for extreme weather.”
State Rep. Steve Stafstrom thanked the governor and legislators for their support.
"This grant is great news for the city and will go a long ways towards protecting Bridgeport's electrical and transportation infrastructure against future storms and flooding," he said.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, who met with HUD Secretary Julián Castro in Bridgeport last week, said he pressed the secretary for more post-Sandy funding.
“Today is a transformational day for our coastline communities,” Murphy said. “We need forward-looking improvements and bold investments. Today’s federal grant, which was made possible by the hard work and close collaboration of local, state, and federal leaders, gets us closer to that goal.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4th District) said preparing today will save money tomorrow.
“Climate change is causing these extreme weather events to be more common, so there’s not a moment to waste in our preparations,” he said.
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