To rebuild parts of New York after Hurricane Sandy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is looking for $30 billion in federal disaster aid – but his request faces hurdles in Congress, according to the New York Times.
The request has not been formally introduced yet, but resistance to Cuomo’s plan may come from conservative lawmakers, who are unwilling to approve additional disaster relief while Congress has already allotted $7.1 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (and an additional $5 billion if necessary).
According to the Times, Cuomo may get support in the Democrat-led Senate, where Senator Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana who heads the appropriations subcommittee overseeing disaster-related funds, recently supported a new appropriations bill for Sandy-ravaged states.
Cuomo’s plan seeks $3.5 billion to repair the region’s bridges, tunnels and subway and commuter rail lines; $1.65 billion to rebuild homes and apartment buildings; and $1 billion to reimburse local governments for overtime paid to police, fire and other emergency personnel – though some noted that the governor’s plan seeks improvements on already aging infrastructure.
For instance, with the money, Cuomo wants to the region’s power grid with a “smart grid” that would pinpoint outages easily, and would cost $30 billion over 10 years, something that lawmakers say doesn’t constitute disaster relief.
“Some items are going to be easier than others,” Representative Peter King, a Long Island Republican and supported or the governor’s plan, told the Times. “A short-term medical emergency will be easier to resolve than long-term infrastructure improvements.”