Colby Hamilton, Writer, WNYC News
Colby Hamilton is a general assignment reporter. He originally joined WNYC as a political blogger. He's a proud graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says Sandy ran up a nearly $42 billion bill on New York and the state and New York City will make big requests for disaster aid from the federal government.
The cost includes approximately $32 billion for repairs and restoration, as well as an additional accounting of $9 billion for mitigation of damage and for preventive measures for the next disastrous storm.
Cuomo says New York taxpayers can't foot the bill.
He met with New York's congressional delegation Monday to discuss the new figures that he said is "less than a wish list." The delegation, Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg--as well as county executives from Long Island--are now ready to submit a comprehensive request for federal disaster aid.
"The meeting was very productive," said Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. "I think we are all unified in our advocacy for New York. We're going to fight as hard as we can to get every dollar New York needs."
Long Island Republican Representative Peter King said after the meeting, "Everyone is in this together. It's up to us to work it through the Congress."
Earlier in the day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city itself will require an additional $10 billion in additional federal aid. That figure is included in the governor's aid request. A spokesman for the mayor's office said the mayor and governor worked closely on the cost estimates.
Representatives King and Republican Michael Grimm of Staten Island said they've been in touch with House Speaker John Boehner. Both said they were confident the request would ultimately gain approval in the Republican-controlled House.
Monday's congressional delegation briefing comes at a difficult time for Washington because of the dwindling funds left in the account of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Compounding the problem is the congressional effort to avoid the fiscal "cliff" that requires significant spending cuts by the end of the year.
The Cuomo administration has gained the public support of President Barack Obama and FEMA in New York's proposal for full reimbursement for storm damage, but state officials have privately worried about how much the state can get at this time.
States typically get 75 percent reimbursement for the cost of governments to restore mass transit and other services after a disaster. Cuomo's request would cover 100 percent of the cost and asks for an additional supplement. The governor pointed to a number of prior aid requests after major storms, including Hurricane Katrina, as precedents for being recouped fully by the federal government.
Cuomo called the $42 billion price tag "conservative" and said he expects the final cost to be much higher.
With the Associated Press