Governor Cuomo Estimates NY's Storm Damages

by Associated Press
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Storm damage

Saundi Wilson, flickr

Damage and economic losses from Superstorm Sandy will cost New York state $33 billion, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

Cuomo called the estimate "a lot of money, even for the state government and federal government."

The estimate comes as state tax revenues were missing projections before Superstorm Sandy hit more than a week ago. Cuomo had projected a $1 billion budget deficit that he said will now likely grow because of Sandy. For comparison, the total state budget is $132 billion a year, including federal funds.

Cuomo is also counting on a commitment from the Obama administration for 100 percent reimbursement for some public costs of rebuilding.

Cuomo is reaching out to New York companies, too. He included executives from Lowe's home improvement stores and Sears at Thursday's press conference to highlight their contributions in cash and material.

"To all the corporations, we need help," Cuomo said. "This is not going to be a short haul. ... There's going to be a long-term reconstruction. There are entire communities that need to be rebuilt."

But the cost of repair and recovery could be just the beginning.

Cuomo said the state and New York City, utilities and the private sector need to not just rebuild, but vastly improve the power and fuel networks into the metropolitan areas. He said the metropolitan area is greatly vulnerable to a fuel system that contains just two or three days' supply and can be disrupted by a power outage or broken pipe.

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