Cuomo: $30B A ‘Wise Investment’
Gov. Andrew Cuomo this afternoon formally called for the federal government to send an additional aid package of $30 billion for New York to help recover and rebuild from the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy.
“I think a fair appropriation for this state would be about $30 billion… This was catclysmic for New York. It is a wise investment for the federal government,” Cuomo said at a news conference in New York City.
Nearly two weeks after the storm swept through the metropolitan region, thousands remain without power and the damage from the storm crippled the transportation infrastructure of the area. Cuomo indicated today, however, that the many thousands without power still may likely need some form of short or medium-term housing while their homes are repaired.
The governor said the federal government must provide more than the out-of-pocket expenses that the Federal Emergency Management Administration that has been provided for so far.
Congress would have to approve the appropriation, similar to what Washington did for the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“I think it’s inarguable… that we’re going to require a supplemental appropriation,” Cuomo said. “The damage here is much more severe than the out of pocket expenses”
Cuomo said small business in the area were particularly hard hit by the storm and the lingering damage.
But the storm’s damage is lasting beyond just the immediate damage, with the state’s budget deficit growing and the area’s economic activity stunted during the recovery.
“Reimbursing me for my emergency expenses for the last two weeks doesn’t make me whole,” Cuomo added.
It’s unclear if Cuomo would be successful in securing the $30 billion from Congress, which post-Election Day has entered lame duck status and several states up and down the eastern seaboard will be seeking disaster relief.
Cuomo said he would not lobby personally in DC for the storm funding.
“If went to Washington now, what story would you write?” Cuomo told a reporter, making a veiled reference to the suggestion he is a contender for the 2016 presidential race.
Cuomo also continued to rail against the major utility providers in the New York City area, saying that “when we get stabilized” he would seek an independent review of the Long Island Power Authority and ConEd’s work in getting the lights back on.
“Going forward, there is nothing off the table,” Cuomo said. “The system doesn’t work.”
LIPA, however, is under the governor’s control, but he deflected somewhat when asked if he bared any responsibility for appointments to the authority.
“They’ve been a political inter-governmental organization,” Cuomo said. “National Grid runs the system.”
Cuomo also estimated that power has come back on in “98 to 99 percent” of homes, but the power remains off for tens of thousands of residents whose homes are severely damaged.
“If you don’t have your power back, it probably means you can’t have power restored in your home at this time,” he said. “It will be getting colder. It could take a number of weeks depending on the damage.”
FEMA can provide up to 18 months of fair market rent for those displaced by disasters, Cuomo said.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on November 12, 2012 at 4:18 pm, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|