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Sandy storm damage tops $360M in state

Updated 11:46 pm, Wednesday, November 14, 2012

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  • Reynaldo Lopez surveys the damage to his family's home in Danbury on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. The house sustained the damage due to a large tree falling on it Monday evening because of storm Sandy. Photo: Jason Rearick / The News-Times

    Reynaldo Lopez surveys the damage to his family's home in Danbury on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. The house sustained the damage due to a large tree falling on it Monday evening because of storm Sandy.

    Photo: Jason Rearick

 

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HARTFORD -- Damage to Connecticut businesses and homes from last month's superstorm has topped $360 million, but Gov. Dannel P. Malloy expects the total to rise.

In a Wednesday interview, Malloy said the amount includes a variety of damage in all eight counties and applications for assistance will keep growing.

He looks forward to working with the governors of New York and New Jersey in seeking additional federal funding for major infrastructure projects to combat the effect of future storms.

"These preliminary applications will be coming in for a much longer period of time," said Malloy in the Capitol, stressing that the damage will surpass last year's August tropical storm, which was followed by a freak October snowstorm.

"It clearly raises some other serious questions based on the tidal surge that we experienced, which was a record from New Haven down through Greenwich," Malloy said. "I think but for the grace of God, we ducked what could have been a much worse outcome."

He said that "hardening" roads, shoreline water protection, transportation systems and other infrastructure considerations are all part of the longer-term effects of the storm.

"This is a damage number, not a hardening-our-infrastructure number and those are two completely different things," Malloy said. "We have some real big infrastructure issues," he said.

Three breakwaters in Stonington were damaged in the Oct. 29 storm, and waterside utility substations in Stamford and Bridgeport were exposed as vulnerable to storm surges.

The Stamford substation, which the Connecticut Light & Power Co. hastily fortified the day of the storm, did not get flooded. The United Illuminating Co. substations in Bridgeport were shut down as a precaution as the storm approached, blackening out tens of thousands of people.

Earlier this week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo estimated that damage and infrastructure needs in his state will be about $30 billion. Malloy said it is too early for Connecticut to estimate the public costs of the storm.

"We didn't have sewage systems overrun, we didn't have subway systems overrun, we didn't have tunnels overrun; people drowning in their own homes," Malloy said of New York and New Jersey.

"I'm going to work with those two governors and the federal administration on what really needs to be a longer-term approach as we also work through the short-term recovery," Malloy said.

He noted that a new state law triggers the state's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority review of the response of UI and CL&P to the storm because more than 10 percent of their customers were affected.

"I think we have to take a serious look at building codes," Malloy said. "We saw an amount of roof damage that is troublesome. There is some hard work to be done."

Earlier this week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency reported that more than 7,270 property owners have applied for assistance, including 6,000 along the shoreline. About $4 million in FEMA funding has been awarded to residents affected by the storm, mostly for temporary housing costs.

kdixon@ctpost.com; 860-549-4670; twitter.com/KenDixonCT; facebook.com/kendixonct.hearst; blog.ctnews.com/dixon