Cuomo: State should pay to wire gas stations for generators

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to Newsday's editorial board.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to Newsday's editorial board. (Feb. 14, 2013) Photo Credit: Sam Guzik

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To prevent storm-caused power outages from shutting gas stations, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Wednesday proposed that the state pay up to $10,000 to cover the cost of prewiring them for backup generators that the stations must contract to obtain in emergencies.

"They will have to make arrangements to have a generator delivered within 24 hours and they will have to do that at their expense" as a cost of doing business, the Democratic governor said at an Albany news conference.

The measure is included in the 30-day budget amendments Cuomo will formally submit to the legislature Thursday.

Superstorm Sandy cut off fuel deliveries only for a day and a half, the governor said, but motorists were inconvenienced for weeks because many gas stations could not resume pumping until their power was restored.

Only about 2,000 gas stations located within half a mile of a highway exit or a hurricane evacuation route initially would have to meet this requirement, said Howard Glaser, director of state operations. Most of those stations are downstate.

New York would use federal storm aid to pay for all but "several million dollars" of the pre-wiring costs, Cuomo said.

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If enacted by the Legislature, the gas station measure would be the "most robust law in the country," Cuomo said.

Other amendments that Cuomo previewed include:

Reducing the fee for a hunting license to $22 from $29, and a fishing license to $25 from $29. Fishing licenses would be valid for one year, instead of just a season.

Giving New York City and Mayor Michael Bloomberg until May 1 to negotiate a teacher evaluation system. If they fail to do so, the state education commissioner can impose such a system -- which could run for several years -- by the end of May. The new teacher evaluation system must be in place by Sept. 1 to prevent the city from losing $250 million of aid.

Cutting funding for the developmentally disabled by $120 million and obliging the state to find $380 million of savings from the Medicaid program, perhaps by getting health care providers to enroll patients more quickly in managed care, for example. The total of $500 million in Medicaid reductions is needed because the state and federal government negotiated lower reimbursement rates to settle a 20-year dispute over how much the state was repaid for its care of the most severely developmentally disabled who were institutionalized.

Gas station Map 2013 by newsday

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