Sandy money too slow? Blame Washington.

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“The problem with that delay,” he said, “is that it’s still a long process … for instance, the key money is in the Community Development Block Grants — first of all, the governor has to come up with his plan, he has to submit that to the federal government in 45 days, it has to be allowed for comments on the spending of the money, it has to go back to the governor and … then take the money to Nassau and Suffolk. Then you have a problem with FEMA, you have a problem with the insurance companies, and the banks. That’s why it was so important to get it done back in November.”

Waiting for the money

A number of people in the audience shared King’s sentiments, saying that the aid is not coming quickly enough. One woman said that many of her friends and relatives remain displaced.

“One friend, [with] a family of six, is living in three places,” she said. “He was housed in a rental unit until the first of this month, when he was forced to move out … [F]irst his house was condemned, then they told him he would have to raise it. … Where is all of the billions of dollars?”

King said that although he is helping the state and local municipalities expedite the funding process, the delay was “devastating.” He told the Herald after the lecture that he is working to help Long Beach obtain the maximum reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in order to cover most, if not all, of the city’s $200 million in costs associated with the storm.

“Ultimately,” he said, “the money will come — but it may be too late. That was part of the desperation we had on the House floor, but there are different laws that we have to comply with … I spoke with [Mangano and Bellone]. They say their job now is to manage expectations. It’s a disaster on top of disaster.”

And, he added, it’s not only the houses and the individuals, it’s the infrastructure. “It’s going to rebuild the Island, yes, homes and individuals, but also roads, sewage plants, hospitals, subway systems, tunnels, bridges,” King concluded. “This was the greatest financial and national disaster that the Northeast has ever suffered. Nassau has suffered more than anyone else in New York.”
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