State Comptroller Estimates Hurricane Sandy Could Cost New York at Least $18 Billion

Tom DiNapoli

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli estimates the damage from Hurricane Sandy could cost the state at least $18 million. Mr. DiNapoli announced his estimate in a statement this afternoon.

“My office’s preliminary estimate of economic losses due to the storm ranges from $15 billion to $18 billion. Our daily infrastructure of highways, power, sewer and water–the elements of modern life that we take for granted–have all been altered by this storm,” Mr. DiNapoli said. “Though the rebuilding effort may offset some of these losses, we must continue to monitor what the long-term economic impact to New York will be.”

Mr. DiNapoli based his estimate on “initial assessments in relation to previous natural disasters.” His statement noted this estimate is “speculative” as economic losses will include disruption to business and property loss that was not included in other estimates and there are many “unresolved economic variables” including the duration of power outages and the full effect of flooding on infrastructure and the environment.

In compiling his estimate, Mr. DiNapoli cited disruption in the financial sector, damage to infrastructure, potential disruption in tourism and flooding, including at contaminated sites like Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal where “the full extent of environmental hazards is yet to be determined.”

While Mr. DiNapoli noted federal assistance will cover the cost of emergency public transportation and power restoration, he expressed his support for the efforts being made by Governor Cuomo, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and the New York delegation for federal reimbursement for all repair and recovery costs. He has also notified state agencies his office is expediting approval of contracts and payments for hurricane recovery work.

“The sooner we get contractors on the ground to assist residents and business owners, the faster New York will be back on its feet,” Mr. DiNapoli said.

Mr. DiNapoli is also directing his office to prepare a more comprehensive report of hurricane-related costs as more information becomes available.

State Comptroller Estimates Hurricane Sandy Could Cost New York at Least $18 Billion