Government is inefficient, but I repeat myself.
Sandy created massive problems, and New York found themselves utterly unprepared:
Sandy flooded both tubes of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, now called the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, which was one of the major and longest transportation disruptions of the storm. It also ravaged the Rockaways in Queens, particularly the waterfront community of Breezy Point, where roughly 100 homes burned to the ground in a massive wind-swept fire.
Among the other crises Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg faced on a daily basis during Sandy were the shortage of temporary housing, which continues, the long disruption of electricity and gasoline, generators in health care facilities swamped by floodwaters, restoring power from swamped electrical infrastructure and repairing commuter rail lines.
But it didn’t have to be this way:
More than three decades before Superstorm Sandy, a state law and a series of legislative reports began warning New York politicians to prepare for a storm of historic proportions, spelling out scenarios eerily similar to what actually happened: a towering storm surge; overwhelming flooding; swamped subway lines; widespread power outages. The Rockaway peninsula was deemed among the “most at risk.”
But most of the warnings and a requirement in a 1978 law to create a regularly updated plan for the restoration of “vital services” after a storm went mostly unheeded, either because of tight budgets or the lack of political will to prepare for a hypothetical storm that may never hit.
I’ll withhold my typical scorn of “the government should take care of us.” After all, this is a state law meant to address problems that the state would face. However, I will point out the main problem with government solutions:
They don’t work very well.
Had individual citizens taken efforts to protect themselves rather than holding out some fantastical hope of government assistance, the whole region would be better off.