Hurricane Sandy Cost City $19 Billion, Bloomberg Says

By Jill Colvin and Julie Shapiro  on November 26, 2012 1:51pm  | Updated on November 26, 2012 3:40pm

NEW YORK CITY — Mayor Michael Bloomberg is planning to go to Washington DC to ask for nearly $10 billion in extra federal aid to help repair the estimated $19 billion in damage Hurricane Sandy caused to the city.

The $19 billion includes costs incurred by the city, residents and local businesses, such as damaged property and lost revenue. That includes an estimated $4.5 billion in costs to city agencies, including a whopping $800 million the Department of Transportation will need for street reconstruction alone.

While some of that damage is already expected to be covered by private insurance and FEMA, approximately half is not, Bloomberg said.

“As you are well aware, Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage to the City of New York, impairing our infrastructure and displacing tens of thousands of people,” Bloomberg wrote in a letter to New York’s congressional delegation Monday.

“The City will struggle to recover in the long term unless expedited federal funding is supplied. Congress has long funded the response and recovery from natural disasters in supplemental appropriations."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo added at a separate press conference Monday that the hurricane would cost the state $32 billion in repairs and recovery efforts and an additional $9 billion in future preventative measures.

"This region, this state, has suffered mightily," Cuomo said. "The taxpayers of New York cannot shoulder this burden, and I don't think it's fair to ask them to shoulder this burden."

Cuomo and Bloomberg met with the state's congressional delegation Monday and both the mayor and governor said they were optimistic that New York would get the federal resources needed to recover from the storm.

Bloomberg noted that, over the past decade, Congress has authorized several large aid packages following floods and hurricanes, including $120 billion worth of aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  

While far fewer people died in Hurricane Sandy than in Hurricane Katrina, Cuomo said Monday that in many ways Sandy was the more devastating storm, in terms of the economic impact.

Sandy affected 265,000 businesses in New York State, compared to 18,000 businesses affected in Hurricane Katrina, Cuomo said. More than twice as many people were left without power after Hurricane Sandy compared to Hurricane Katrina, and tens of thousands more homes were destroyed, Cuomo said.

"When you look at the damage done, the economic damage, the housing damage, the damage to commercial properties, because of the density of New York, the number of people affected, the number of properties affected, was much greater in Hurricane Sandy," Cuomo said.

The $10 billion Bloomberg is requesting from the federal government for New York City would go toward costs that aren’t covered by FEMA, such as long-term housing, as well as restoring and protecting the city’s badly damaged shorelines.

Bloomberg will travel to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to encourage leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives to authorize the cash, his office said.

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