State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli today projected the economic losses caused by Superstorm Sandy could total $15 billion to $18 billion for New York state. The storm has affected highways, power supply, sewer and water and other infrastructure. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and some local governments were already under fiscal stress.
“Lives have been lost, homes and property destroyed, and businesses large and small remain paralyzed across New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley and the greater metropolitan region,” DiNapoli said in a statement.
The comptroller noted that early projections are speculative because there are many unresolved economic variables, such as how long power outages last and how much the flooding affects infrastructure. The rebuilding effort could offset some of the losses, the comptroller said.
New York state was struggling before Sandy hit. DiNapoli said in a recent report that tax revenues for the state are $436 million below projections. The storm will affect those revenues in the short term. The comptroller is scheduled to release his early outlook report next week for the upcoming state fiscal year.
DiNapoli said his office is expediting approval of contracts and payments related to hurricane recovery efforts.
“The sooner we get contractors on the ground to assist residents and business owners, the faster New York will be back on its feet,” he said.
Other findings in DiNapoli’s report are:
— Ongoing disruption of New York City’s financial sector is expected to be minimal, although “any negative storm aftershocks could have significant implications.” The sector accounts for roughly 14 percent of the state’s tax collections and 7 percent of New York City’s.
— While most of the cost of rebuilding infrastructure, such as highways, seaports and airports — damage is expected to be in the tens of billions.
— Flooding of sewer and water systems and their overflows will exacerbate cleanup and raise health concerns.
— It is essential that the state reduce risks associated with future storms. A 2010 report by the New York State Sea Level Rise Task Force predicted there would be a rise in sea level of between 2 inches and 5 inches by the 2020s.