New York Community Risk and Resiliency Act – Application to Transportation Infrastructure Projects

Starting in March 2015, public infrastructure projects in New York, including those that are constructed, funded, or approved by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), must be evaluated on their resiliency to sea-level rise and future extreme weather events. The New York state Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA) requires state agencies to consider climate change impacts in funding and permitting decisions. The CRRA specifically applies to new, expanded, or reconstructed infrastructure projects reviewed by NYSDOT under the state’s Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy Act (SGPIPA).  The Community Risk and Resiliency Act amended SGPIPA to require NYSDOT and other state infrastructure agencies to ensure that, to the extent practicable, public projects will “mitigate future physical climate risk due to sea level rise, and/or storm surges and/or flooding.”

The CRRA, which was instituted to better prepare New York communities for the effects of climate change, was signed into law on September 22, 2014, by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The New York State Assembly justified the CCRA by citing National Climate Assessment reports, which document an increase in extreme precipitation throughout the northeast United States, and by calling attention to the compounding threat of sea level rise and flooding for the state’s infrastructure. The CCRA applies to state agencies implementing laws and programs, including the State Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy Act, Environmental Protection Fund, Water Pollution and Drinking Water Revolving funds.

The New York State Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy Act was enacted in 2010 as an amendment to the state Environmental Conservation Law. SGPIPA requires state agencies, including NYSDOT, to review infrastructure projects for consistency with specified smart growth criteria.  NYSDOT has implemented SGPIPA by integrating smart growth policies into its transportation project development process, and issued a department Policy to support transportation investments that lead to “sustainable, planned and efficient growth.” 

NYSDOT created a Procedures document that provides agency guidelines for complying with SGPIPA, a Smart Growth Screening Tool to assess projects for consistency with the established smart growth criteria, and a Guidance Document explaining the screening tool and underlying smart growth criteria.

The Community Risk and Resiliency Act amended SGPIPA by adding the criteria that, to the extent practicable, a project should: “mitigate future physical climate risk due to sea level rise, and/or storm surges and/or flooding, based on available data predicting the likelihood of future extreme weather events, including hazard risk analysis data if applicable.”  This criterion must now be considered by NYSDOT and other state agencies when evaluating projects under SGPIPA.

As one of the first steps in implementing the CRRA, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) finalized regulations in early 2017 that establish statewide science-based sea-level rise projections for use in the consideration of permits and other decisionmaking processes specified under CRRA. The regulations include five projections ranging from low to high levels of sea-level rise for each of three distinct coastal regions (Mid-Hudson, New York City/Lower Hudson, and Long Island). Projections are developed for four timescales: 2020s, 2050s, 2080s, and 2100. As of February 2017, DEC and other agencies are in the process of developing implementation guidance, also required by the CRRA, which will describe agency review procedures and application requirements for programs like SGPIPA that are covered by the CRRA.

 

This Adaptation Clearinghouse entry was prepared with support from the Federal Highway Administration. This entry was last updated on February 7, 2017.

 

Publication Date: September 22, 2014

Related Organizations:

  • New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT)
  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
  • State of New York

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  • Laws

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