Superstorm Sandy ran up a $42 billion bill on New York, and the state and New York City congressional leaders are preparing big requests for federal disaster aid.
The cost includes $32 billion for repairs and restoration, but also includes an additional accounting of $9 billion for mitigation of damage and for preventive measures for the next disastrous storm.
“It’s common sense; it’s intelligent,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said of the effort to seek preventive work for the next storm. That would include protecting the electrical power grid and cellphone network. “Why don’t you spend some money now to save money in the future? And that’s what prevention and mitigation is.”
Cuomo said that Sandy caused more costly damage than Hurricane Katrina, which slammed the Gulf Coast in 2005, although Katrina had a far higher death told than Sandy.
He said New York taxpayers can’t foot the bill: “It would incapacitate the state. ... Tax increases are always a last, last, last resort.”
The most-basic recovery costs for roads, water systems, schools, parks, individual assistance and more total $15 billion in New York City; $7 billion for state agencies; $6.6 billion in Nassau County and $1.7 billion in Suffolk County, both on suburban Long Island; and $527 million in Westchester County and $143 million in Rockland County, both north of New York City; according to a state document used in the private briefing of the delegation and obtained by The Associated Press.
Cuomo met with New York’s congressional delegation Monday to discuss the new figures that he said is “less than a wish list.” The delegation, Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg now will draw up a request for federal disaster aid.
Sen. Charles Schumer said the unprecedented damage “demands a strong and equally serious response from the federal government.”