NYC seeks $9.8B aid for Sandy storm losses

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NEW YORK -- New York City is seeking $9.8 billion in federal funds to repair infrastructure and recoup economic losses caused by Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Private insurance and Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements would pay for only $9.2 billion of the $19 billion in total public and private losses to the city from the superstorm, Mr. Bloomberg said in a letter to New York state's Congress members. New York City's request includes $5.7 billion in lost economic activity.

"This funding will be needed to address the significant local expenses that have been and will be incurred, including costs that are ineligible under FEMA such as hazard mitigation, long-term housing solutions and shoreline restoration and protection," the mayor said.

Sandy pounded the most populous U.S. city Oct. 29 with winds of as much as 100 mph. The storm killed more than 40 people in the city's five boroughs, left 10,000 homeless and flooded transit tunnels and underground utilities.

New York's Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo estimated the cost of the storm to the state at $33 billion. He said Monday that he is seeking a special federal appropriation of about $41 billion, including the cash for the city, $4.8 billion for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and $9 billion to help prevent flooding.

New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie pegged damage to the Garden State at $29.4 billion or more, while Connecticut's Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy projected at least $360 million in damages.

Mr. Cuomo's request followed a meeting in Manhattan with the state's congressional delegation, he said at a news briefing. Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 storm that killed 1,833 people in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast, will remain the costliest to strike the United States, with Sandy probably second, Mr. Cuomo said.

"Katrina, which is the obvious comparison, in many ways was not as impactful as Sandy," Mr. Cuomo said. "Because of the density of New York, the number of people affected, and the number of properties affected, was much larger in Hurricane Sandy than Hurricane Katrina. That puts this entire conversation in focus."

The federal government provided $146 billion to New Orleans and Gulf Coast communities after Katrina. That storm, along with Hurricane Rita less than a month later, destroyed or damaged 215,000 homes compared with 305,000 in New York from Sandy, Mr. Cuomo said. In New York, 265,000 businesses were damaged or destroyed by Sandy, compared with 18,500 by Rita and Katrina, he said.

Mr. Bloomberg said New York City will struggle to recover unless Congress speeds funds. Two weeks ago, the mayor outlined $555.2 million in cuts from the city's current $69 billion budget to help close a $635 million deficit after an August court ruling stopped the city from selling taxi medallions.

New York City is facing a $1.15 billion deficit for fiscal 2014, starting July 1, even after planning $1 billion in spending cuts. Efforts to recover from Hurricane Sandy won't be affected, Mr. Bloomberg's office said in an email.

Many agencies are just now focusing on recovery, he said. The city Department of Transportation needs $800 million for street reconstruction alone. Sandy cost city agencies $4.5 billion, the mayor said.

(Mr. Bloomberg is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.)

nation


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