A little more than a year after Hurricane Sandy devastated New York City, the people responsible for the rebuilding effort went before a Senate panel, and lawmakers told them to pick up the pace. Washington bureau reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report for NY1.
The rebuilding efforts are continuing every single day, all throughout New York, but lawmakers say things aren't moving nearly fast enough.
"What I hear from my constituents is not good," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. "I hear so many stories of constituents who can't rebuild, who haven't gotten money. There's so much red tape that they cannot possibly find their way through."
The key players responsible for rebuilding the Northeast appeared before a Senate panel Wednesday to offer up a progress report.
So far, only a fraction of the $60 billion allocated by Congress earlier this year has left the government's coffers for the East Coast.
"It was clear that the road to recovery would be long and difficult," said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. "A year later, I'm proud to say we've made significant progress."
That progress may actually begin to pick up next year, now that the federal government has laid the groundwork for the rebuilding efforts and put in place mechanisms for people to get federal money.
"I predict that this second year of Sandy recovery will be a year when people see lots of rebuilding, and by the end of year two, people will be a whole lot happier with the program than they are at the end of year one," said Sen. Chuck Schumer.
But what will people think in year four? Specifically, 2016. The hearing turned political when Republican Sen. Rand Paul blasted the federal government for using Hurricane Sandy money to pay for television ads, many of which featured New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
"Some of these ads, people running for office put their mug all over these ads while they're in the middle of political campaign," Paul said.
Paul never mentioned Christie by name, but it was clear who he was talking about. Both men are political rivals and likely candidates in the 2016 presidential race.