FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2013
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES CITY’S PLANS FOR FEDERAL HURRICANE SANDY RECOVERY FUNDS, INCLUDING INVESTING IN HOUSING, BUSINESS AND INFRASTRUCTURE, IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, February 10, 2013.
“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“It’s been just over 100 days since Hurricane Sandy struck our city – and during that time, New York City has made a lot of recovery progress. Our Rapid Repairs program has already restored power, heat, and hot water to some 16,000 homes, and it’s making those essential repairs for hundreds more New Yorkers each week. The City’s emergency loans and grants have provided a welcome lifeline for hundreds of small businesses in hurricane-devastated areas. And we’ve moved swiftly to fund a half-billion dollars in emergency repairs for storm-damaged public schools and hospitals.
“Our recovery efforts also got a big boost last week, when Washington announced that we’ll get nearly $1.8 billion in a first installment of the new Sandy recovery funds that Congress approved last month. Now we’re hopeful Federal officials will okay our plans to put those funds to work as quickly as possible. That includes investing more than $1 billion in housing, business, and infrastructure recovery in the neighborhoods Sandy hit the hardest – while also making our city more storm-resistant in the future. Let me briefly run through our plans in each of those three priority areas.
“First, we propose to use $720 million of these Federal funds to rebuild and renovate storm-damaged housing. Some $350 million of this sum would go out as grants to owners of one- and two-family homes – and our top concern will be helping the most financially distressed homeowners who are facing the greatest repair costs. Where homes need to be rebuilt entirely, we’ll help the owners meet current Building Code requirements, and also elevate their homes to protect them against future flooding. We also propose investing $250 million to repair storm-damaged multi-family dwellings, and $120 million for repairs to the public housing that Sandy hit. We’ll focus on measures designed to help both these types of housing ride out future storms, too.
“Second, we also propose to use $185 million to assist businesses still reeling from Sandy’s effects, and help businesses become more storm-resilient, too. That would include $80 million worth of business recovery loans and grants and another $100 million in storm-resiliency grants. We’d also launch a $5 million grant competition to encourage development of technologies that could help businesses when big storms hit us again.
“Third, we’re also talking with Federal officials about launching two more grant competitions: A $100 million contest to come up with the best ideas for reviving the commercial areas most devastated by Hurricane Sandy; and a $40 million competition to help utility companies find new ways to deal with major storms in the future. We’ve always believed that City government has no monopoly on creative thinking – and also that nothing encourages the best ideas like competition for a cash reward.
“We're hoping for Federal approval to get these programs running by late April or early May. In the meantime, we’ll be developing plans to make the best possible use of all the Federal Sandy recovery money coming our way. We’re grateful for the help we’re getting from Washington – and we’re going to make sure it’s put to the best use.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening.”
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