As Sandy gives construction industry a boost, cost of city projects grow

Mayor Bloomberg
Mayor Bloomberg

City plans to pump $1 billion into city infrastructure projects are being radically altered by the affects of Hurricane Sandy, Crain’s reported. Last October, when the stimulus was announced, the funds were intended for waterfront construction, road and bridge repairs and street construction at a time when construction costs were at a relative low. Now with some 70,000 homes in need of repair, the cost of building materials like plywood and drywall has risen nearly 15 percent  — making construction more costly for the city.

Moreover laborers are being stretched across thousands of repair projects. “Every union member is working,” Lou Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, which represents 17,000 union contractors, said.

According to Crain’s, Coletti’s phone lines have been flooded with calls from contractors who want to participate in the city’s “rapid repairs” program — a FEMA program that pays for contractors to do work on salvageable homes.

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Mayor Bloomberg announced yesterday that the city will spend some $500 million on schools and hospitals repairs alone, according to DNAinfo. The money will go to repairing broken boilers, electrical systems, roofs, backup generators  at 37 schools and three public hospitals that were shuttered by Hurricane Sandy.

“To our knowledge, New York City government has never before made such an emergency provision for additional capital spending because of a natural disaster, and certainly never one of this size,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday. “But our city, I think it is fair to say, is experiencing a storm as destructive as Sandy was and we’ve never done that before.” [Crain’s and DNAinfo]Christopher Cameron