Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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Hudson Valley

Officials disagree on how to use federal aid

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Albany/HV: Officials disagree on how to use federal aid
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Even before the federal government decides whether to give the city money to clean up from Sandy, a split is emerging between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo on how they would spend it regarding mass transit. Josh Robin has the story.

NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. – Governor Andrew Cuomo is looking for billions to prevent floods in the future. But Bloomberg said he wonders whether it makes sense to spend so much money on what is likely a once-in-a-lifetime type storm.

"We need more subways to take people to parts of the city where they live now and they didn't live when the subways were built 100 years ago," Bloomberg said.

Some officials say there's no way Bloomberg will get the money for reasons other than weather-related emergencies. Expanding the mass transit system wouldn't fall in that category.

"We need to protect our system from flooding, both storm surge and rainfall," said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign. "What those measures are people can debate. But I think they're the more compelling of the two possibilities."

Cuomo's office only said it's committed to working with all sides to get federal aid. He is seeking $9 billion for flood prevention. It's a request that Bloomberg said he understands. Mmass transit is still not back to normal. But he said the Metropolitan Transportation Authority also protected its stock by shutting down and moving cars.

Bloomberg cited climate change when he endorsed President Barack Obama, but has recently said he doesn't expect a storm similar to Sandy to ravage our subways anytime soon.

"It hasn't happened in 100 years and if you take that precaution, that's good, but at what expense?" he asked.

It was damage far above ground that brought Bloomberg to Queens Friday. He surveyed the damage to trees, of which Sandy knocked down about 17,000 across the city.

The good news is that two days before Sandy, the Parks Department had planted 20,000.

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