Lawmakers are approving new measures to repair the damage by the most expensive natural disaster in the US since Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans in 2005. Part of these recovery efforts includes $2 billion in aid to restore infrastructure, bridges and highways all along the north east corridor of the country.
This money is just a small part of the total $50 billion USD approved for restoring as much of the infrastructure and mass transit systems damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy as it charged ashore in October 2012.
Long Beach Township Mayor Joseph Mancini said the vote was an important shot in the arm to businesses trying to recover and is a way for towns to start combating the perception that they’re not open for business.
“I can’t wait to see how much we’re going to get … so we can get everything back to order,” Mancini said.
He said his town, on Long Beach Island, is about 50 percent recovered and should be mostly back to normal by Memorial Day.
The bill was approved by 192 Democrats and 49 Republicans, while 179 Republicans and one Democrat opposed its passage, AP reported. The 241-180 vote clears the way for the Senate to take up the measure next week, which officials predicted it would do before sending it to President Obama for his signature, AP said.
The emerging House measure includes about $16 billion to repair transit systems in New York and New Jersey and a similar amount for housing and other needs in the affected area. An additional $5.4 billion would go to the Federal Emergency and Management Agency for disaster relief, and $2 billion is ticketed for restoration of highways damaged or destroyed in the storm.