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Page added on March 29, 2009

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Washington is stimulating ‘underwater’ projects

Several shovel-ready projects being funded by the stimulus bill could be scuba-ready within the century.

Highways, housing and a school receiving some $60 million under President Obama’s massive economic recovery plan face increased flooding — or complete submersion — within the lifetime of his daughters, environmental groups and scientists warned yesterday.

Take Highway 87 in Texas. The paved strip pokes south like a pin along Bolivar Peninsula, a finger of land that parallels the mainland before ending in the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston. The road is set to be improved using $12 million from the emergency spending spree that is meant to resuscitate employment and spark a financial comeback.

But the peninsula could be an island in 90 years or so, submerging parts of the road and leaving the dry sections accessible only by boat, according to one model showing a 3-foot rise in seawater.

Orrin Pilkey, an expert on sea level rise at Duke University, said barrier islands “will be toast” at that new depth.

NY Times

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