News24

Sandy's total cost at $42bn

2012-11-27 09:02

Albany — Superstorm Sandy ran up a $42bn bill on New York, higher than expected, and the state and New York City are making big requests for disaster aid from the federal government, the state's governor said on Monday.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said the cost includes $32bn for repairs and restoration but also includes an additional accounting of $9bn for mitigation of damage and for preventive measures for the next disastrous storm.

Cuomo says New York taxpayers can't foot the bill.

He met with the New York's congressional delegation on 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 will now draw up a request for federal disaster aid.

Bloomberg announced earlier on Monday that Sandy caused $19bn in losses in New York City, which is part of the $30bn estimate Cuomo used.

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

Dwindling funds

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

That federal emergency money and private insurance won't cover all the public and private expenses from the storm, which included damaged streets and restaurants closed because of flooding, Bloomberg said.

"While the impact of the storm will be felt for some time and the challenges are great, I am confident that the city will rebound and emerge stronger than ever," Bloomberg wrote to the congressional delegation.

Monday's briefing comes at a difficult time for Washington because of the dwindling funds left in the account of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Compounding the problem is the congressional effort to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff that requires significant spending cuts by the end of the year.

Hard times were already facing the state and city governments which were staring at deficits of more than $1bn before Sandy hit at the end of October. State tax receipts have also missed projections, showing a continued slow recovery from recession that could hit taxpayers in the governments' next budgets.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on Friday had caused more than $29bn in damages in his state.

Christie, who has become a national figure during his first term, riding an unprecedented wave of popularity because of how he handled the storm, filed papers with election officials on Monday cementing his intention to seek a second term.