November 2, 2017
Albany, NY

Governors Cuomo and Rosselló Announce Team to Help Prepare Puerto Rico Secure Fair Share of Federal Funding

Governors Cuomo and Rosselló Announce Team to Help Prepare Puerto Rico Secure Fair Share of Federal Funding

Leading Philanthropic Organizations Rockefeller, Ford, Open Society Foundations to Support Damage Assessment and Help Secure Federal Disaster Aid for a Robust Recovery

State Deploys New Emergency Electric Crews - 350 Utility Personnel and 220 Vehicles - for Power Restoration in Puerto Rico

Photos of Governors Cuomo and Rossello Conducting an Aerial Tour of Areas Impacted by Superstorm Sandy

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, together with Governor Ricardo Rosselló, met with representatives of the Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations. They announced an immediate effort to help Puerto Rico better assess storm damage to secure the level of federal disaster aid that will be essential for the Island's long-term recovery. Using technical experts and in consultation with businesses, nonprofits, and other leadership from the Island, this group will work together in the coming weeks to assess the damages Puerto Rico suffered and the costs to rebuild its infrastructure so that Puerto Rico can achieve fiscal stability and build a strong local economy. The Governor delivered a PowerPoint on the new disaster assessment plan available here.

"New York knows the devastating and enduring impact of extreme weather all too well, and the extraordinary progress we have made rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy is a testament to our expertise in damage assessment and rebuilding efforts," Governor Cuomo said. "In the aftermath of Hurricanes Maria and Irma, New Yorkers have provided unwavering support to our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, and we will continue do everything we can to ensure they have a partner in long-term recovery."

Governor Rosselló said, "In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, New York has stood shoulder to shoulder with Puerto Rico every step of the way, and we are grateful to have their unyielding support and expertise as we rebuild and recover. By working with the world's leading philanthropic and private experts in damage assessment and disaster recovery, we will be better able to secure the critical federal funding we need and rebuild stronger than ever before. Puerto Rico is lucky to have a friend and partner in Governor Cuomo, and I look forward to continuing to work with him and these partners on our recovery efforts."

The work will include assessment of housing, critical capital infrastructure such as the electrical, water and the telecommunications systems, roads and bridges, and social infrastructure like schools and hospitals. Among other factors, the final assessment will take into account not only physical and economic loses, but the cost to improve and strengthen basic systems. The product of this work will be a report of damage and estimated rebuilding costs for consideration by Congress and the Administration next month.

Additional partners on the effort include Deloitte, Columbia University, Stony Brook, the New York Power Authority, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, and the New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal, Electric Power Research Institute, Smart Electric Power Alliance, Con Edison and Edison International.

In addition, Governor Cuomo announced the deployment of new emergency utility crews to Puerto Rico next week, including 350 utility personnel and 220 bucket trucks and special equipment. New York is also deploying a Tactical Power Restoration Team to Puerto Rico - including 28 engineers, and 15 damage assessment experts - to help supervise and coordinate the restoration of the electric distribution system in the 27 sections of the PREPA power grid. This builds on the previous deployment of 20 NYPA power experts and 2 DEC drone pilots who inspected and assessed 11 large power plants and over 340 substations in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Earlier today, Governors Cuomo and Rosselló surveyed areas impacted by Sandy to provide the Puerto Rican delegation an understanding of the recovery process and best practices for long-term rebuilding.

The projects surveyed include:

  • Manhattan: Reconstructing the subway station that was entirely submerged in seawater at South Ferry.
  • Staten Island: Restoring the natural habitat of the Oakwood Beach community with voluntary buyouts and building protective infrastructure, including a seven-mile elevated promenade with recreational amenities.
  • Brooklyn: Strengthening defenses against storm tides to safeguard Coney Island
  • Queens: Reconstructing the Breezy Point neighborhood following a massive fire and flooding.
  • Long Island: Rebuilding the boardwalk, fortifying the shoreline, and elevating homes in the Long Beach community.
  • Long Island: Elevating 12 power substations and constructing a new smart grid at the LIPA E.F. Barrett Substation.
  • Long Island: Transforming and modernizing the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant in East Rockaway that serves more than 500,000 residents.
  • Queens: Constructing new rail track for the Long Island Rail Road at Broad Channel.
  • Queens: Installing eight new flood gates on underwater tunnels, including two on Queens side of Queens Midtown Tunnel.

Photos of the aerial tour are available here.

Following the aerial tour, Governors Cuomo and Rosselló met with representatives from elected officials, private sector partners and foundations, including:
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Congressman Eliot Engel
Congresswoman Nita Lowey
Congressman José E. Serrano
Congressman Jerrold Nadler
Congressman Pete King
Congressman Gregory Meeks
Congressman Joseph Crowley
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries
Congresswoman Grace Meng
Congresswoman Kathleen Rice
Congressman Adriano Espaillat
Congressman Thomas Suozzi
Senator José M. Serrano
Assemblyman Marcos Crespo
The Rockefeller Foundation
Enterprise Community Partners Inc.
Ford Foundation
Columbia University
Robin Hood Foundation
The Door
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Con Ed
Stony Brook University
Open Society Foundations

"New Yorkers have provided unwavering support to our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, and we will continue do everything we can to ensure they have a partner in long-term recovery."

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

100 Resilient Cities President and Rockefeller Foundation Managing Director Michael Berkowitz said, "Today, we are proud to stand with our partners to commit ourselves to helping do an effective and efficient damage assessment. This work is critical to securing the needed federal funds to help Puerto Rico recover from this storm."

Ford Foundation Vice President of Economic Opportunity and Markets Xavier Briggs said, "From the Gulf Coast to Detroit and many other parts of the country, we've seen amazing results where philanthropy can help leaders in all sectors to be more bold, smart and inclusive. Ford is proud to be part of this early step to help Puerto Rico come back stronger and faster, and we look forward to working with local foundations and other partners in the months ahead."

Open Society Director of US Programs Ken Zimmerman said, "Too many American citizens remain without electricity, water, and basic infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, and safe roads and bridges. This humanitarian crisis is denying our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters their human rights. Open Society Foundations is ready to step in with our partners to get much needed aid to Puerto Rico quickly and equitably."

Partnership for New York City President & CEO Kathy Wylde said, "From the beginning of the tragic hurricanes that devastated Puerto Rico, we have seen the true spirit of New Yorkers and the strength of the bonds between New York and Puerto Rico. Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, New York's public and private sector partners across the state are stepping up to the plate to deliver the supplies and assistance that Puerto Rico needs. I applaud the Governor for strengthening New York's commitment to rebuilding the island's infrastructure and building a better future for the people of Puerto Rico."

In the immediate aftermath of the hurricanes, New York stood up the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort to aid Puerto Rico. In addition to the aid distributed to the island, 156 volunteer medical personnel from across New York's health care community have traveled to Puerto Rico to provide citizens with critically-needed health care assistance across the island. The volunteer initiative was made possible by the generous efforts of Greater New York Hospital Association, the Healthcare Association of New York State, Community Health Care Association of New York State, New York State Nurses Association and 1199SEIU. The team of volunteers arrived yesterday and will be deployed for 14 days and will serve at either the Federal Medical Center in Manati or will provide support on the critical relief missions that are being carried out by Disaster Medical Assistance Teams across Puerto Rico.

Emergency medical supplies also continue to be delivered to Puerto Rico via a partnership with GNYHA, the Afya Foundation, and UJA-Federation of New York. Working together to coordinate all aspects of the missions, including securing private jets and purchasing more than $1 million in supplies, the partnership has delivered more than 30,000 lbs. of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to 16 hospitals and health care organizations, and 12 community organizations to help ensure that Puerto Rican residents have access to critical medical care. Shipments have included vital medical supplies including 3,000 vials of insulin, transplant surgery drugs, pediatric oncology drugs, antibiotics and vaccines.

Governor Cuomo has also engaged the Partnership for New York City, the city's leading business organization, to establish the Puerto Rico Relief & Rebuilding Fund at New York Community Trust, a public foundation, that will make grants to local charitable organizations in Puerto Rico that are helping with recovery and rebuilding from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, focusing on the most needy households and communities. Funds and in-kind contributions are being solicited from the business community, with a minimum donation of $10,000.

Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort

New York has delivered and distributed to Puerto Rico to date:
1.1 million bottles of water
1.8 million individual baby wipes
1.1 million diapers
220,300 feminine products
40,420 containers of baby food
37,072 packages of dry food
23,015 canned goods
15,200 bottles/pouches of juice/sport drinks
8,600 solar lamps
10 generators

And deployed:
132 National Guard Military Police
125 National Guard Engineers
60 National Guard soldiers
Four Black Hawk helicopters
156 Volunteer Physicians, Physicians Assistants, Nurses, and Nurse Practitioners
More than 70 Port Authority personnel
More than 130 State Troopers
24 New York Power Authority experts
24 members of the New York private utilities coalition
Five-member logistical support team from the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
Two Department of Environmental Conservation drone pilots

For more information about the recovery and relief efforts underway in Puerto Rico, and to learn how you can assist, please visit the Governor's Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands webpage.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact the Governor's Press Office

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