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The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee met on November 14 to address the preparedness, response, and recovery objectives from Superstorm Sandy. The Committee heard from witnesses from FEMA, the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the Army Corps of Engineers. They closely examined the federal agencies’ progress in implementing two laws to aid in recovery initiatives, allocating assistance funding, and meeting associated deadlines. The Committee was concerned with wasteful spending.
A year ago, Superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast of the United States, causing 131 deaths and $50 billion in economic loss. Congress approved the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act to provide emergency disaster assistance March 19, 2013, which included the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013. The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act authorized the National Flood Insurance Program to borrow $9.7 billion to cover insurance claims. The Sandy Recovery Improvement Act provided an additional $50.5 billion in relief aid to federal agencies who support disaster recovery and assistance, such as FEMA, Department of Transportation, NOAA, Department of Agriculture and EPA. The Committee plans to partner with agencies to monitor ongoing efforts and provide a progress report on agencies’ ongoing disaster relief efforts.
Sources: FEMA, E&E News & Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
The U.S. Geological Survey was recently awarded funds to investigate the rate of erosion along the east coast of the United States that resulted from Superstorm Sandy. The Department of the Interior awarded $22.4 million to nine USGS projects that will help to support the rebuilding process by delivering high-resolution topographical surveys, evaluating ecosystem resiliency, and providing enhanced storm monitoring, among other services.
Sources: U.S. Geological Survey