President requests $60 billion for Hurricane Sandy recovery assistance

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Last week President Obama requested $60.4 billion in recovery assistance related to the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy and to mitigate the effect of future such disasters.  OMB acting Director Jeffrey Zients said in a letter transmitting the administration’s request that federal funding is needed to assist ongoing efforts by states affected by Hurricane Sandy, which he called “the second or third most costly disaster in U.S. history.”

The $60.4 billion in requested funding includes the appropriation of $5.4 billion remaining from Disaster Relief Funding made available ($11.6B) in the Budget Control Act of 2011 and $55 billion in new budget authority (including borrowing authority).  The administration requested the total amount be considered emergency funding, not requiring offsets.

More than two-thirds of total funding would go to Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Transportation, and Corps of Engineers programs.

The Community Development Block Grant program (HUD) would be provided $15 billion for costs not met by other sources for housing repair and replacement costs, repair needs of small businesses, and public infrastructure investments.

The FEMA Disaster Relief Fund would receive $11.5 billion for Hurricane Sandy response and recovery efforts, including direct aid to survivors.  FEMA’s National Insurance Fund would be provided $9.7 billion in borrowing authority.

The Federal Transit Administration (Department of Transportation) would receive $6.2 billion to repair and restore the public transportation infrastructure of the New York City metropolitan area including the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey, the New Jersey Transit, and the New York City Department of Transportation. 

The request would also provide $1.5 billion to the Corps of Engineers for repairs to Civil Works projects operated and maintained by the Corps ($.9 billion) and for Corps of Engineers’ response and emergency operations and repairs to Civil Works projects operated and maintained by non-federal sponsors ($.6 billion).

The Department of Defense (DoD) would be provided almost $114 million to fund repairs to damaged facilities, utilities, and equipment.  Operations and Maintenance accounts would receive $64 million:  Army ($5.4M), Navy ($41.2M), Air Force ($8.5M), Army National Guard ($3.2M), and Air National Guard ($5.8M).  Repairs to ammunitions production facilities at the Army Ammunition Plant in Radford, Virginia would require $1.3 million in Procurement of Ammunition Army funds.  The Navy Working Capital Fund (WCF,N)  would receive $24.2 million for the cost of repair and debris removal at the Naval Weapons Station Earle, NJ and other naval WCF facilities and repair to the USNS Arctic.  The Sea Grit National Guard Training Center, NJ would receive $24.2 million in Military Construction funds to repair facilities and utilities.

The Coast Guard operating expenses account would receive $66.8 million to repair hurricane-related damage to the Coast Guard Academy, Coast Guard housing, and Coast Guard air facilities, boat stations, and field units on the east coast, the Great Lakes, Florida, and Great Inagua, Bahamas.  The Coast Guard acquisition, construction, and improvements account would be provided $207.4 million to rebuild and repair waterfront facilities, housing, boat stations, field units, and information and technology and communications systems from Virginia to Connecticut. 

In addition to funds requested for hurricane Sandy-related recovery and repair, the administration is requesting $13 billion “for mitigation projects to reduce the risk of damage from future disasters.”  Projects covered under this request (including $5.5 billion for public transportation projects) “should be guided by regional response plans that are informed by an assessment of current vulnerabilities to extreme weather events and that effectively mitigate future risks,” according the budget request. 

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