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Schumer: NYC ‘Taking Its Sweet Time’ Distributing Federal Sandy Aid

Sen. Charles Schumer calls on the U.S. Senate to pass the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act at a news conference on March 10, 2014 in Belle Harbor, Queens. (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

Sen. Charles Schumer calls on the U.S. Senate to pass the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act at a news conference on March 10, 2014 in Belle Harbor, Queens. (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Sen. Charles Schumer has blasted the city’s efforts to disperse federal superstorm Sandy aid thus far but voiced hope that things will change under a new administration.

Speaking from Belle Harbor, Queens, which was decimated in the Oct. 2012 storm, the senator noted he got along well with Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s team.

“But one of my great disputes was that they were much too slow in giving out homeowner aid,” said Schumer. “They were so interested in dotting each I and crossing each T.”

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, Mayor Bill de Blasio has promised the Sandy recovery will speed up. But so far, the mayor has not unveiled his plan.

Schumer said he fought last year for the federal aid in Congress but it’s not getting to those in need fast enough.

“Out in Long Island, it’s not been quick enough. But it’s a heck of a lot quicker than the city. The $60 billion covers everybody, with some give and the city is just taking its sweet time,” Schumer said. “It’s not the state and it’s not the feds. It’s New York City, which has been ridiculously flyspecking.”

Schumer said he will meet with de Blasio to talk over what needs to change, Silverman reported.

“I have told him in general, he’s gotta change the way Bloomberg did it but I’ve not gotten into the specifics because we gotta wait until he gets his people in place and they’re not there yet,” said Schumer. “I’ve not done it yet. I’m waiting for him to get a little bit more settled.”

According to city data, construction has not started on any of the nearly 20,000 single family homeowners that have filled out applications for aid. The city administered Build It Back program has dispersed $9.7 million of the $648 million that’s been allocated, data showed.

Schumer refused to answer when he was asked if he’s surprised at how long it’s taken the new mayor to fill out his administration.

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