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Long Beach says repairs need Sandy funds 'yesterday'

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood stands with Sen.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood stands with Sen. Charles Schumer at a press conference in Manhattan to discuss the $250 million to go toward Sandy aid, a large percentage of which will go to Long Island. (Feb. 15, 2013) Credit: Nancy Borowick

Long Beach is grateful to receive some of the $100 million in federal aid coming to Long Island to repair storm-damaged roads and bridges, though the head of the city council said the funds are not coming soon enough.

"We needed the money as of yesterday," said Scott J. Mandel, president of the Long Beach City Council. "But we appreciate the efforts they're making."

New York State is slated to receive a total of $287 million in federal disaster aid. The federal government is reimbursing local and state governments for money spent to fix certain roads, highways, bridges and dunes damaged by superstorm Sandy, which struck the East Coast on Oct. 29.

Nassau had sought $188 million in aid for road and bridge repairs. Suffolk had requested $13 million.

Some of the projects submitted and approved by the federal government for aid are: protective dune repair on Asharoken Avenue in the Village of Asharoken and Dune Road in the Town of Southampton; seawall damage and failed culvert on parts of West Shore Road; and dune replenishment on parts of Ocean Parkway in Nassau.

Nassau has contracted to spend $10 million so far to repair part of West Shore Road, Branch Boulevard in Woodmere and traffic signals, said Katie Grilli-Robles, a spokeswoman for Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.

How much money will go to villages, towns and counties is yet to be determined.

The news that money will arrive soon was delivered in lower Manhattan Friday by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who is stepping down after four years, and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). The men, joined by New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, made the announcement at the edge of the entrance of the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, formerly the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, which was completely flooded by Sandy.

"With this funding, we are delivering on our promise to help New York and the rest of the East Coast rebuild and recover from Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters," LaHood said.

Schumer said the process of getting reimbursed for disaster relief money typically took months and years, but this time the federal government has expedited the process.

"The money got here in record time," Schumer said. "I would say that DOT and the federal government have broken the world's record in getting cash to local governments. And, I thank you for that because it allows our work to continue."

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