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What the Government Has Spent on Sandy So Far

What the Government Has Spent on Sandy So Far
Reuters

Since Hurricane Sandy made landfall six months ago tonight, the government and private insurers have paid out tens of billions of dollars in an attempt to restore affected communities. Results have varied. A brief review of the government's spending after the storm indicates that where and how much support has been provided has varied as well.

Here's what we know about what has been spent to try and repair the damage from the storm.

Insurers have paid out $18.8 billion.

Last week, the Insurance Information Institute announced that 90 percent of claims made after the storm had been paid, to the tune of nearly $19 billion. More than half of those claims were in New York and New Jersey, and 73 percent of the claims came from homeowners, but about half of the pay-out will go to business owners.

Not everyone shares the institute's enthusiasm about the response. As NBC New York notes, many victims are unhappy with or still fighting for insurance payments they'd already expected.

The government has approved at least $800 million in non-FEMA contracts.

FederalTransparency.gov, a website run by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, tracks federal contracts related to Sandy expense, excluding FEMA payments. The site presents a portrait of spending that is not what one might expect. Its map of awarded contracts is shown below.

Most of the non-FEMA money the government has spent has been spent by the Department of Homeland Security.

 

Expense by agencyHOMELANDSECURITY,DEPARTMENT ...INTERIOR,DEPARTMENT ...DEPT OFDEFENSEVETERANSAFFAIRS, DEPA...TRANSPORTAT...CORPORATIONFOR NATIONAL...ENVIRONMENT...Other34.8%56.9%

FEMA has spent at least $4 billion, mostly on flood insurance.

In its six-month report, issued last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency provides a rough outline of how it has spent about $4 billion. By far the largest percentage of that spending has been on the National Flood Insurance Program, which is designed to supplement homeowner and business insurance policies — and which, at the beginning of the year, received a large infusion of money from the government specifically to offset Sandy-related costs.

FEMA expensesNational FloodInsuranceHousingassistanceHotel room nightsOther needsassistanceFederal assistanceto NJBeachfront repairsOther6.6%8.4%80.8%

Breaking down the agency's state-by-state data, over 70 percent of what has been spent on direct assistance to individuals has been in New York.

FEMA by stateNYCTNJMDOther28.2%70.5%NY$1,891,471,493.50 (70.5%)

Adding FEMA to the tally of federal Sandy spending, it becomes clear how massive its spending has been compared to other agencies.

Expense by agency, with FEMAHOMELANDSECURITY,DEPARTMENT ...INTERIOR,DEPARTMENT ...DEPT OFDEFENSEVETERANSAFFAIRS, DEPA...TRANSPORTAT...ENVIRONMENT...FEMAOther9.5%83.2%

Yet there's still much more to be spent. In January, the House approved $51 billion for Sandy assistance, a sum far from what the government has already spent. Later today, for example, New Jersey governor Chris Christie will join Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan to announce an additional $1.8 billion in spending in that state for rebuilding and recovery.

And as most residents of the areas damaged by the storm would attest — recovery is still a long way away.

Top image: Kenny Han uses a chainsaw to prepare pilings that will be used to rebuild a boardwalk destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in Avon-By-The-Sea, New Jersey. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.

Philip Bump writes for The Atlantic Wire. All posts »

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