Sandy Relief Measure Signed by the President

On Monday, the Senate passed H.R. 152, the House-originated $50 billion disaster relief measure for New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and other states affected by last Fall’s Superstorm Sandy.  The President signed the bill late on Tuesday.

A somewhat slimmer version of an earlier Senate proposal, the bill provides $100 million for drinking water and $500 million for clean water state revolving loan funds to be used for projects in New York and New Jersey.  EPA may also reserve $1 million for their own administrative costs.  The wastewater definition of an eligible project has been broadened somewhat to include efforts that reduce flood damage risk and vulnerability and/or enhance resiliency to rapid hydrological change or a natural disaster.  A wastewater provision is also included that calls for the two states to reserve at least 20 but not more than 30 percent of the available funds for projects requiring principal forgiveness, negative interest, or grants.  There does not appear to be a similar requirement for drinking water fund use and all traditional DWSRF eligibilities apply within the context of using these funds.

The larger package also provides $11.5 billion for FEMA ($5.4 billion for the disaster relief fund), $10.9 for transit needs ($5.4 billion in the New York City metropolitan area), $2 billion for the Federal Highway Administration, and $16 billion for HUD ($3.9 billion for the community development program).