Sen. Charles Schumer, after touring damage to Playland from Hurricane Sandy on Friday, said FEMA officials told him that Westchester and Rockland counties will receive federal disaster aid as early as next week.
By Jon Craig
Sen. Charles Schumer, after touring damage to Playland from Hurricane Sandy on Friday, said FEMA officials told him that Westchester and Rockland counties will receive federal disaster aid as early as this week.
Schumer walked the Playland boardwalk with County Executive Rob Astorino, Rye Mayor Doug French, and Congresswoman Nita Lowey. Congressman Eliot Engel joined them at a news conference afterward. Another dozen electric utility trucks from Maryland arrived to assist Con Edison crews as officials spoke.
“It’s like a roller coaster,’’ Schumer said of boardwalk planks rumpled by the storm, which the Senator called the worst in New York’s history. “We will rebuild. We’ll grow back stronger.”
Schumer said FEMA has more than $7 billion to pay for disaster relief nationwide. The City of Rye is still owed money from FEMA for previous storms including Hurricane Irene.
Schumer said FEMA has agreed to reimburse New York City and the state for the cost of emergency public transportation and restoring power. It covers the period from October 30 through Nov. 9. FEMA is required to pay 75 percent of certain damages, but can pay up to 90 percent to 100 percent.
Astorino said that getting schools back open is a priority.
French said that eight Rye roads remained closed of the more than 30 roads that had been blocked by fallen and trees by the storm’s wrath last week.
FEMA indicated it will pay for the total initial costs of restoring power to New Yorkers and immediate transportation costs, Schumer said. The agency also is giving $10 million to the Army Corps of Engineers to help clear roads in communities like Rye. Schumer also expressed his concern about getting enough gasoline to the area since rigs have been unable to pump it to the shore.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has asked FEMA and President Obama to pay for up 100 percent of some of the costs associated with Hurricane Sandy. Cuomo, in a letter to the president, said the state may face up to $6 billion in economic impact.