NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vowed to dramatically cut into the backlog of nearly half a million repair jobs in city-owned buildings by the end of the year.

Bloomberg announced Thursday that work would begin within 24 hours on emergency repair requests at NYCHA public housing.

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He said NYCHA’s goal is to virtually eliminate the current backlog of 420,000 open repair work orders and permanently reduce the average wait time for future repair requests.

“Through better management of materials and equipment inventory, improved scheduling of skilled trades workers and by hiring more workers to make repairs, NYCHA will tackle the backlog of old repairs and deal with new requests more quickly,” Bloomberg said.

“The New York City Housing Authority understands and respects our residents’ frustration over the current backlog of repair and maintenance work,” said NYCHA Chairman John Rhea. “In spite of our budgetary constraints, we have a responsibility to work smarter and better with what resources we do have, which is why expediting maintenance and repairs has been a top priority in our strategic roadmap Plan NYCHA. This Action Plan is our commitment to seeking solutions to enhance our residents’ quality of life.”

The mayor blamed much of the backlog on cuts of federal aid and aging buildings.