Sacramento, Calif., Mayor Kevin Johnson helped launch the Resilient Communities for America campaign this week offering a pledge, along with 44 other mayors, to create a movement to develop communities resilient to extreme weather, faltering infrastructure and other hazards.
Johnson, on the steps of Sacramento’s City Hall, said a goal is to get 200 mayors to sign a pledge by the end of this year and then a thousand by 2015. He said it’s critical for mayors to leverage their numbers to secure federal and state funding to support local initiatives for infrastructure and energy security and economic uncertainty.
The thrust behind the campaign is to be proactive in addressing infrastructure, energy security and extreme weather events by planning and investing before a hazard becomes a disaster.
“We don’t want to get caught flatfooted. For every dollar you invest in infrastructure it can avoid and save you $4 down the road, and that’s a commitment we’re making,” Johnson said. “Investing on the front end becomes a good insurance policy, and it’s about investing in our future.”
Johnson acknowledged that locally the hazards include extreme heat, drought, wildfire and flooding. He said Sacramento is behind only New Orleans for being most at risk for a major flood event and there is an urgent need to strengthen the area’s levees.
“The important thing is when you talk about resilience, it’s our ability to bounce back,” he said. “You’ve heard a lot about climate change and that’s important but there are going to be national disasters in our communities, and we have to be able to bounce back in real time.”
The centerpiece of the campaign is an agreement for mayors and other local officials to sign a pledge that indicates a commitment to create more resilient cities, towns and counties to overcome recent trends in extreme weather and temperatures, aging infrastructure and economic uncertainty.