Wall Street Journal:
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration plans to use $500 million in New York City taxpayer money to fund initiatives related to superstorm Sandy that were expected to be fully paid for with federal aid, city officials said Wednesday.
The city’s plan to infuse half a billion dollars into Sandy recovery and storm-protection programs comes as the cost to U.S. taxpayers for repairing and elevating some of the houses damaged by the 2012 storm could hit about $1 million a home, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Tishman Construction submitted a package of bids to the city earlier this month to elevate 53 homes in Queens damaged by the 2012 storm for $50 million, according to documents and a person familiar with the bids. Tishman is overseeing hundreds of properties in the Build It Back program, an initiative dedicated to assisting owners whose homes were damaged by Sandy.
Build It Back has, to date, been bankrolled with federal Sandy relief funds allocated to the city by Congress through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The federal government is also funding a number of storm-protection initiatives aimed at protecting the city in the future.
But significant cost overruns in Build It Back appear to be leaving city taxpayers on the hook for some of the storm-protection initiatives. The program is about $500 million over budget.