The federal government approved New York City’s plan for nearly $1.8 billion in Hurricane Sandy recovery initiatives, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Friday.

This release of first-round federal funds enables the city to launch its initiatives and extend relief to more New Yorkers in need – particularly homeowners and small businesses with extensive damages and expenses.

Joining Bloomberg were U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

New York submitted its Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery action plan last month, which outlined its proposal to spend the initial federal aid allocation on programs for housing recovery, business recovery, infrastructure and resiliency.

The funding consists of $648 million for housing recovery; $293 million for business recovery; $360 million to repair city infrastructure and for city services established in the response and recovery work; $294 million for resiliency investments to be detailed in a report the city will issue later this month on rebuilding and resiliency; and, to comply with federal requirements, $177 million for planning and administration of recovery programs.

Bloomberg and Economic Development Corp. president Seth Pinsky will release their report later this month, with recommendations on increasing the resilience of infrastructure and buildings citywide – known commonly as hardening the system.

The city carries roughly $41 billion of general obligation debt. Moody’s Investors Service rates the city’s GO bonds Aa2, while Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s assign AA ratings.

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