NEW YORK -- During Hurricane Sandy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo witnessed firsthand the storm whip a surge of water into the Battery Tunnel.
Now New York's governor is walking into the eye of a man-made disaster: the fiscal cliff. Cuomo went to Washington on Monday to ask the federal government for nearly $42 billion in Sandy relief. He wants $32.8 billion to help clean up the damage from the storm, and another $9 billion to help prepare for the next big one.
But getting that money will not be easy since Cuomo is competing against both deficit concerns and the needs of other states; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said his state endured $36.8 billion in damage.
On Monday, Cuomo and Christie issued a joint statement saying they were "committed to working together in a united, non-partisan effort with Congress and the Obama administration to bring aid to our states without delay, commensurate with the damage we sustained and in recognition of the importance of our economies, separate and combined."
"We need the full funding for our aid to arrive, hopefully before the end of the year," they said. "We are sure that we will require more aid in the future, but we need this full commitment now.”
As Cuomo pressed his case at the White House and in Congress, he likely brought along a long list of the destruction Hurricane Sandy wrought on his state.
According to the numbers Cuomo presented to members of New York's congressional delegation last week:
- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority was socked with about $5 billion in damage. South Ferry-Whitehall Street subway station alone will require a $600 million restoration. Service from there to Brooklyn is still shut off weeks after the hurricane. The MTA's chairman, Joseph Lhota, told The New York Daily News that "South Ferry was destroyed. It wasn't hurt. It wasn't wrecked. It was destroyed."
- Infrastructure also took a hit in Nassau County, where the Bay Park sewage plant, overwhelmed by 12 feet of water, spewed hundreds of millions of gallons of partially treated sewage into nearby waters.
- At the very tip of the Rockaways peninsula in Queens, in the Breezy Point neighborhood, a fire on the night Sandy ripped through the close-knit, close-built community destroyed more than 100 houses -- just a small portion of the $9.7 billion in damage to housing stock in the state. Fortunately for the state, one of its own -- Manhattan native Shaun Donovan -- is now the secretary of housing and urban development and President Obama's choice to lead recovery efforts. Making new houses storm-resistant might add 10 to 20 percent to costs.
- The storm impacted not only people's homes but also their businesses: On Staten Island, the Italian restaurant Puglia by the Sea, which had just moved to its prime waterfront location a year ago, was washed into the ocean. Across New York state, businesses were hit with $6 billion in damage by Sandy.
- New York's parks and other environment facilities sustained downed trees and more at a cost of about $800 million. Up Interstate 95, the historic amusement park Rye Playland, owned by Westchester County, was hit to the tune of $12 million. Two weeks after Sandy, part of the log flume ride was still floating offshore in the Long Island Sound.