The White House has released details of President Barack Obama’s $60.4 billion request to Congress for Superstorm Sandy response, recovery and mitigation costs.
This is some of what Jeffrey Zients, the president’s deputy director for management, wrote to congressional leaders:
“New York and New Jersey-two of the Nation’s most populous States-were especially hard hit by these storms. Recovery efforts continue today throughout the region. All told, although estimates of the total damage of Hurricane Sandy remain in flux, current projections are that Sandy is on track to be the second or third most costly natural disaster in U.S. history, behind Hurricane Katrina (2005) and close to Hurricane Andrew (1992), While much of this damage is covered by insurance, current estimates suggest that a significant amount of damage is not covered.”
Zients wrote that the country has an obligation to help people “who suffered losses and who lack adequate resources to rebuild their lives.” At the same time, the federal government must ensure that funds are used responsibly, private insurers fulfill their responsibilities, resources are targeted to people with the greatest need, and states and local governments contribute, “as appropriate,” to the cost of rebuilding.
Some examples of what the funds would be used for:
—$11.5 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for response and recovery efforts related to the storm, including direct aid to survivors and rebuilding public infrastructure.
—$15 billion in Community Development Block Grant funds to help state and local governments address disaster-recovery needs in hard-hit areas. Grantees can use funds for needs not met by other sources, such as housing repair or replacement, small businesses that are underinsured and/or ineligible for Small Business Association loans and public infrastructure investments.
—$6.2 billion to repair and restore public transportation in the New York City metropolitan area, with funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New Jersey Transit and other transit providers. A non-federal match of 10 percent will be required.
—$6 million to repair or replace medical equipment and building systems at the Department of Veterans Affairs in New York, including to repair the sea wall at the Montrose VA Medical Center, repair building systems and purchase facilities supplies.
—$3.17 million to help repair damaged facilities and equipment and remove debris at Army National Guard facilities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, including Camp Smith in Cortlandt Manor.
President Sandy Funding Request