I am pleased that US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan recently announced $335 million of preliminary funding for the first phase of the “Big U” resiliency project. The project would help build a barrier along Manhattan’s coastline from West 57th street, down to Battery Park City, and up to East 42nd Street, to protect us from flooding and rising sea levels. I believe the proposal will help us accomplish the physical, social, economic and ecological improvements necessary to protect us from natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy. Last month, I joined State Senator Squadron and other local elected officials in sending a letter to Secretary Donovan, urging federal support for the Big U proposal through its Rebuild by Design (RxD) competition. This grant is an important first step in protecting our community from future natural disasters, and I am grateful to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for recognizing our imperative need for solutions. Please see our letter below.