UPDATE 1-NYC mayor to ask Congress for $9.8 bln for Sandy costs

Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:16pm EST

Nov 26 (Reuters) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday he will ask Congress for $9.8 billion to pay for superstorm Sandy costs not covered by insurance or other federal funds.

In a letter to New York's congressional delegation, Bloomberg said public, private and indirect losses to the city from the devastating late-October storm totaled an estimated $19 billion.

Of that, private insurance is expected to cover $3.8 billion, with Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements to cover at least an additional $5.4 billion, Bloomberg said in a statement.

The city still will need the additional $9.8 billion to help pay for costs that FEMA does not cover, like hazard mitigation, long-term housing, shoreline restoration and protection efforts, he said.

Bloomberg is scheduled to speak with congressional leaders in Washington on Wednesday.

Sandy made landfall in New Jersey on Oct. 29. It blasted through the Northeastern U.S., killing dozens of people, devastating homes, forcing evacuations, crippling power systems and shutting down New York City's subway system for days.

The total cost in the region still is not clear as estimates of the damage, as well as future repair and prevention costs, continue coming in from states, cities and counties.

Private insurance is expected to cover a large chunk of the costs, while FEMA is expected to cover at least 75 percent of eligible costs, but city and state officials can ask for more.

On Nov. 12, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he planned to ask the federal government for $30 billion in disaster aid for the state.

Cuomo's initial estimates pegged the total amount of damages for the region at $50 billion, with about $33 billion of that incurred in New York state.

Cuomo's office did not immediately reply to a request for information about how New York City's damages fit into the overall estimated damages for the state.

The city had about $4.8 billion of uninsured private losses, $3.8 billion of insured private losses, and $4.5 billion in losses to city agencies.

Reconstructing the city's damaged roads alone could cost nearly $800 million, Bloomberg said. New York City, a financial and tourism center, also lost about $5.7 billion in gross city product, he said.

Neighboring New Jersey, which saw massive damage to its transit system and coastline, said it suffered at least $29.4 billion in overall losses, according to preliminary estimates released by Governor Chris Christie on Friday.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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