Superstorm Sandy recovery cost at $42 billion in New York


The Associated Press reports the most basic recovery costs for roads, water systems, schools, parks, individual assistance and more total $15 billion in New York City. Meanwhile, state agencies require $7 billion; Nassau County needs $6.6 billion and Suffolk County, both on suburban Long Island, needs $1.7 billion; $527 million is needed in Westchester County and $143 million is needed in Rockland County, both north of New York City.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is also preparing for the next big storm, adding $9 billion for mitigation of damage and for preventive measures to Sandy recovery costs. Prevention measures would include protecting the electrical power grid and cellphone network.

"It's common sense; it's intelligent," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "Why don't you spend some money now to save money in the future? And that's what prevention and mitigation is."

Cuomo said Sandy caused more monetary damage than Hurricane Katrina in 2005, though Katrina killed more people.

As a result, Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are now preparing big requests for federal disaster aid. Cuomo met with New York's congressional delegation Monday to discuss the new figures that he said is "less than a wish list."

Sen. Charles Schumer said the unprecedented damage "demands a strong and equally serious response from the federal government."

"Make no mistake, this will not be an easy task, particularly given the impending fiscal cliff, and a Congress that has been much less friendly to disaster relief than in the past," Schumer said. "We will work with the (Obama) administration on supplemental legislation, to be introduced in the upcoming December session of Congress, that will set us on the road to meeting New York's needs. This will be an effort that lasts not weeks, but many months, and we will not rest until the federal response meets New York's deep and extensive needs."

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, confirmed the new total provided by Cuomo officials and has pledged to be cooperative in the finding enough disaster aid.

New York state and city governments were already facing deficits of over $1 billion before Sandy hit on Oct. 28. State tax receipts have also missed projections, showing a continued slow recovery from recession that could hit taxpayers in the governments' 2013-14 budgets in the spring.

Bloomberg is requesting nearly $10 billion from federal lawmakers to reimburse government agencies and private businesses. That would be additional funding on an expedited basis over the $5.4 billion in standard disaster aid that the city projects it will receive from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"The city will struggle to recover in the long term unless expedited federal funding is supplied," Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg says the money from FEMA and private insurance is not expected to cover all public and private storm expenses. That damage includes flooding in streets and restaurants.

Meantime, FEMA has already paid out nearly $250 million to New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie says the preliminary damage estimate is $29.4 billion or more.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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