NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — President Barack Obama is coming to New York on Thursday to see the storm damage and talk to those affected.
Local leaders think his visit will light a fire under federal authorities to do more to alleviate problems such as gas shortages.
Among the many frustrations stemming from Hurricane Sandy are the disruptions in gasoline deliveries that have forced New York City, Long Island and New Jersey to ration gas by going to and odd and even system and the question of what local leaders are doing to fix the problem .
“It frustrates me enormously. The whole gas situation frustrates me enormously,” Sen. Charles Schumer told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer on Friday.
With long lines and only about 25 percent of gas stations in New York City and Long Island open for businesses, Schumer said FEMA had a solution that has not been put into effect yet.
“A simple idea was to deliver gas to the gas stations that had electricity — that’s being done pretty well. And to deliver generators to the gas stations that didn’t — that’s not being done very well and that’s very frustrating because you might add by 30 or 40 percent the number of stations that are actually pumping gas,” Schumer said.
Here’s the rub.
Schumer said the generators are in New York, but they are just not getting to the gas stations.
“FEMA’s delivered a whole lot of generators up here, but they haven’t been distributed very well. The state says FEMA doesn’t tell us where they are and FEMA says the state hasn’t gotten them out. They gotta coordinate better,” Schumer said.
Schumer said both sides need to “stop pointing fingers.”
CBS 2’s Kramer asked FEMA’s John Long, the man in charge of federal support in New York, about the generators for gas stations program. He said hundreds of generators have been brought to the area, but he was too polite to point fingers.
Kramer: “Have you started helping the gas stations?”
Long: “We have not yet actually put a generator on a gas station, but we’re working to be able to do that.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg seemed to think it was more a state problem than a city problem.
“I’m sure there are some gas stations that don’t have power, but most of them have power that have not opened. Our understanding is you have more gas stations open today — our estimate has gone from 20 percent to 30 percent,” Bloomberg said.
Schumer praised FEMA for its ability to get money into the hands of people hurt by the storm. Some $330 million has already been given directly to people who suffered storm losses.
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