Issues & AdvocacyFederal
President Obama signed into law Jan. 29 an aid package to fund recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast. The package is the second relief bill to be approved and authorizes roughly $50 billion in expenditures to rebuild homes, businesses, and infrastructure throughout the region.
The law includes funding for a number of programs that will impact the built environment, including:
• $11.5 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund
• $16 billion for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and several housing programs through HUD
• $5.3 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to provide storm resilience
• $13 billion for public transportation
• $780 million for Small Business Administration disaster loans.
The AIA had urged Congress earlier this month to provide support for rebuilding infrastructure and improving resilience in the region. As much as $10 billion will be eligible for projects that better prepare the region for future disasters.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) have each made comments indicating that there will be very little effort to relocate communities. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has similarly declared that the iconic boardwalks of the Jersey Shore may not be the same, but they will be rebuilt.
The bill brings the total federal support for Sandy relief to more than $60 billion, an amount all the more sobering considering that Sandy was not quite a-100 year storm, and a demonstration of the reality that, unless communities are held to higher design and construction standards, similarly damaging storms are likely to affect the U.S. in the future.
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