In an interview on NY1 Monday night, Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged the failures of the Build it Back Sandy recovery program but also suggested there would be no changes at the top. NY1's Bobby Cuza reports.
It was Mayor Bill de Blasio's strongest disavowal of Build It Back, the city’s Sandy rebuilding program that has been plagued by years of delays, sky-high costs and shoddy repairs.
"This a never-again thing," de Blasio said. "We’re never going to do this the same way."
Created under the Bloomberg administration, de Blasio promised an overhaul. But Monday night, he seemed to concede failure.
"We inherited a program. In retrospect, I wish we had questioned the whole thing and said, 'Wait a minute, we may want to do an entire reset,'" de Blasio said. "We took a bad design and tried to get the best out of it. It just was not the right approach."
Build It Back was the subject of a NY1 special report last week, titled "Build It Broke," which found the city, in many cases, was spending far more repairing and elevating homes than the homes were actually worth, all while dragging out the process for years.
"The timeline alone makes very clear this was a broken concept," de Blasio said.
While the program’s director, Amy Peterson, has come under fire, the mayor said personnel was not the problem. He pointed to some of the program’s successes and suggested that with the program drawing to a close, no changes are planned, but that in a repeat scenario, the city might just offer cash.
"If the situation's too complex, too costly, an offer of a buyback – buyout, I should say - is much more likely to be the way to go, and just settle the matter for everyone," de Blasio said.