NY governor plans to seek $30 billion in federal aid to rebuild after superstorm

Michael Virtanen, The Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. - New York's governor plans to request $30 billion in U.S. aid to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy, which heavily damaged parts of New York City and Long Island.

The state will seek a supplemental appropriation to cover infrastructure, repair and emergency costs beyond those normally covered by federal emergency aid, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday. "I've asked for 100 per cent reimbursement," said.

Generally the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse up to 75 per cent of public costs, with the state and local authorities covering the remaining 25 per cent. There have been cases, such as Hurricane Katrina, where the federal government has reimbursed up to 90 per cent of costs.

The plan to request federal aid, first reported Monday by The New York Times, would help cover the cost of improvements like a power grid meant to improve utilities' ability to find and fix outages. It would also upgrade New York City's fuel supply capacity to help prevent consumer shortages and bring new oil and gas pipelines from New England to reduce dependence on shipping the fuel.

The storm left more than 100 people dead across several states, most of them in New York and neighbouring New Jersey.

Last week, Cuomo said the storm would cost New York state $33 billion and he was counting on a commitment from the Obama administration for reimbursement for many public costs of rebuilding.

Meanwhile, New York City is pouring $500 million into repairing public schools and hospitals damaged by the storm. With 23 schools and two city-owned hospitals still closed two weeks after the storm, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials announced plans Monday to put up $200 million for critical fixes to schools and $300 million for hospitals.

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Associated Press writer Alicia Caldwell in Washington contributed to this report.