NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced a $500 million emergency plan to pay for critical repairs to public schools and hospitals damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
The plan would allocate $200 million for the Department of Education and $300 million for the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation to repair extensive damage.
The repairs would include structural restorations, new boilers, new electrical systems and roof repairs.
“Our city has never experienced a storm as destructive as Hurricane Sandy and financing for these repairs is as necessary as is it urgent,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “These school buildings and public hospitals are resources that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers rely on every day – and we are not waiting for federal aid to begin the work of repairing and re-opening them. This emergency capital spending is vital investment in our recovery and future.”
The most severe damage to schools and hospitals occurred in the Rockaways, Staten Island and south Brooklyn, officials said. There are 37 schools that remain closed due to structural damage.
Officials said Bellevue Hospital Center, Coney Island Hospital and the Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility on Roosevelt Island all sustained extensive damage.
An official says Bellevue and Coney Island hospitals won’t be fully running until early next year.
Coney Island is already running outpatient services. City Health and Hospitals Corp. President Alan Aviles said Monday that Bellevue expects to start offering outpatient services Nov. 19.
Aviles says the next focus will be reopening the hospitals’ emergency rooms. Aviles says that will require state permission, especially since Bellevue’s emergency room would have to run on generator power for a while.
He says the operating rooms, critical care units and other facilities could open by Jan. 1 at Coney Island and the first week of February at Bellevue.
Speaking from P.S. 207 in Howard Beach, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the extra funds are critical to the city’s ability to operate.
“We in the [City] Council tomorrow will move forward with allocating, at the mayor’s request, $500 million additional to the capital budget to make sure that the great institutions of our Health and Hospitals Corporation are up and running as quickly as possible and that the schools in the city of New York which hae been damaged, some which have yet to open like this school, can open as quickly as possible,” Quinn told reporters.
The city council will vote on the plan on Tuesday. Bloomberg said the city has already spent $134 million on storm-related emergency relief.
City Comptroller John Liu said the city will work to recover these funds from FEMA.
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