Hurricane Sandy Aid Money Does Not Come Quickly, in a Dump Truck

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A woman walks with her dog by homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy along the beach in the Rockaways on January 15, 2013 in New York City. A $50.7 billion Superstorm Sandy aid package is expected to be voted on today in the House. The package, which has come under criticism by some fiscal conservatives, is being heavily pushed by Northeastern lawmakers. The money would be spent on immediate needs to the region including $5.4 billion for New York and New Jersey transit systems and $5.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief aid fund.NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 15: A woman walks with her dog by homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy along the beach in the Rockaways on January 15, 2013 in New York City. A $50.7 billion Superstorm Sandy aid package is expected to be voted on today in the House. The package, which has come under criticism by some fiscal conservatives, is being heavily pushed by Northeastern lawmakers. The money would be spent on immediate needs to the region including $5.4 billion for New York and New Jersey transit systems and $5.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief aid fund.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images2013 Getty Images

Mayor Bloomberg announced the plan for the first $1.77 billion allocated to New York City for Hurricane Sandy rebuilding today, but it won't be here until April or May, Crain's reports. While the Department of Housing and Urban Development released $5.4 billion of the $50 billion package (eventually) approved by Congress, "The government doesn't just back up a truck and dump bills on the ground," Bloomberg explained. "You have to justify it, you have to get approvals, you have to comply with the law."

The mayor insisted the time frame was relatively "fast," even by disaster standards, while Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway stressed, "It's not as if this is the first time they are going to see help in April or May, these programs are going to help them get all the way back."

When it does come through, $720 million will be used to rebuild housing, $185 million to businesses, and $140 million to improving infrastructure. Individual homeowners will receive $350 million, apartment buildings will get $250 million, and $120 million will fall to public housing, which was hit especially hard.

"NYCHA will use these funds to install back-up generators and other critical equipment above flood levels in over 100 of our buildings in low-lying areas, focusing on buildings with high concentrations of seniors and vulnerable residents," said NYCHA chairman John Rhea in a statement. "These upgrades will ensure that essential services such as elevators and emergency lighting are maintained during and after a storm."