By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Staten Island) issued the following statement after the House passed a $50 billion aid package for Hurricane Sandy victims in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut Tuesday night.
I have poured my heart and soul into this effort – working tirelessly to secure the support to pass this bill and bring relief to the people of Staten Island. There’s no question that this vote should have happened much sooner. However, I am proud to return to my district knowing that we won the battle in the House. Once this bill becomes law, we will have the rest of the funding to continue helping our homeowners and small business owners get back on their feet, begin repairing New York City’s devastated infrastructure, and give the Army Corps of Engineers the resources it needs to begin fortifying our shoreline.
This funding will never make up for the loss and devastation that was felt by so many throughout Staten Island and the region, but it can help restore some semblance of normality to lives that have been turned upside down.
This aid package will help New York City rebuild in a variety of ways. It will help homeowners and business owners fill in gaps left by FEMA and uninsured losses. It will give the Army Corps of Engineers the resources to expedite a delayed feasibility study, so that we can move forward on plans for a seawall.
It will allow New York City to begin rebuilding large-scale projects, such as the Whitehall Subway Station that could otherwise remain closed indefinitely without federal aid to cover the $600 million cost of repairs.
This funding will also help rebuild the Manhattan VA Hospital, as well as the Coney Island Hospital, which has over 300,000 outpatient visits per year and has over 2,300 employees. The Coney Island Hospital suffered severe damage to its mechanical systems, and cannot make repairs to critical infrastructure (electric, medical gas systems, etc) or move them to higher ground without federal aid.