The federal government announced Monday that the city is going to get an additional $1.34 billion in grant money, part of a $5 billion aid package for the Northeast. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
On the eve of the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, federal officials say they are ready to pump $1.3 billion into New York City to help with the recovery effort. For those in need, the money can't get here soon enough.
"In year one, we all agree, the aid flowed too slowly. There was red tape," said Sen. Chuck Schumer. "But the second year will be a whole lot better. The spigot is now open. The aid spigot is now open. Money will be flowing."
The federal housing agency released a total of $5 billion in aid for five states on Monday. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland and Rhode Island all get a piece of the pie. More than $2 billion is heading to New York State, in addition to the money for the five boroughs.
The city, though, still has to apply for the funding. Officials say it will be used to help homeowners, and it will get pumped into waterfront communities to prepare for future storms. A portion of the money will go to infrastructure.
"Some critics would say, 'We can't afford to do this.' I say we can't afford not to do this," said federal Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan. "For every dollar we invest in resiliency today, we save $4 in the future from storms that will come."
There should be even more help on the way after this round of funding. City officials say they hope that the federal government will authorize another wave of Hurricane Sandy aid by the end of the year.
Of course, at that point, it may be up to the city's next mayor to put it to use.
Democratic candidate for mayor Bill de Blasio made waves last month when he said he wanted to use federal storm aid to raise living standards in the hardest-hit neighborhoods. Federal Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan would not say whether such a plan would be permissible.
"Obviously, we haven't seen plans yet, and it's hard to comment without actually seeing them," Donovan said.
Given de Blasio's huge lead in the polls, the plans may be on the way to Donovan in the new year.