What Louisiana Can Teach New York and New Jersey



The Morris Canal in New York City, with portions flooded by Sandy's storm surge.

photo by Augieray/Flickr.com

Natural disasters have a way of concentrating minds and creating political openings for change that can otherwise be difficult to achieve under normal conditions. Indeed, infrastructure like subways, roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, water and wastewater systems, electricity and communications networks rarely make the news except when they fail.

The massive damage and disruption caused by "Super Storm" Sandy has created a rare moment when New York City, New Jersey and surrounding areas are singularly focused on the infrastructure they need in a changing environment—not just the infrastructure they already have thanks to the vision and investments of past generations.

It is actually a moment to look south—at how Louisiana has chosen to shape its post-Katrina approach to protecting coastal populations and restoring eroding coastal lands.

The remainder of this op-ed can be found at cnn.com

Debra Knopman is vice president and director for RAND Justice, Infrastructure and Environment; Jordan Fischbach is an associate policy researcher; and David Groves is a senior policy researcher at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.

This commentary originally appeared on CNN on November 8, 2012. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.