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Cuomo to seek $30 billion for Sandy recovery

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a news

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a news conference in New York about Hurricane Sandy. (Nov. 8, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

New York State will seek $30 billion in new federal aid to help areas devastated by superstorm Sandy, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday.

The aid would be in addition to any money the state gets from run existing federal programs, such as those run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and probably would come as part of an overall supplementary appropriation by Congress for states hit hard by the storm, the governor said.

The next major problem facing the region, Cuomo said, was housing for those displaced by Sandy. He said the state Department of Financial Services will run an round-the-clock telephone center at 800-339-1759 for people to find out if their losses are covered by private insurance.

He said FEMA has two programs that will help with shelter: payment for a hotel room for up to two weeks and assistance with rental housing for up to 18 months for those whose homes were badly damaged.

Cuomo said repeatedly that his $30 billion request "does not come close" to the real economic cost to the state, but it was fair and there was ample precedent for Congressional authorization for such funding.

"Equity and the fairness is inarguable in this case," he said. "My guess is it would be a regional plan, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut. They normally do the entire region that would be affected."

"New York needs a supplemental appropriation from the federal government to help us rebuilding Hurricane Sandy," the governor said during a news conference that also touched on a variety of topics, from the good work being done by volunteers to the need to face climate change.

He repeated his criticism of LIPA and other utilities for their failures, but declined to offer any specific solutions. "Going forward, I would say that nothing is off the table," Cuomo said.

He downplayed the possibility of putting power lines underground, saying it wold be expensive and time-consuming and would cost billions of dollars.


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