NYC teachers' fund pledges $1 billion in Sandy aid

AP News
Posted: Dec 13, 2012 10:53 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A pension fund for city teachers is pledging $1 billion in new investments toward repairing roads and bridges damaged by Superstorm Sandy and other infrastructure projects.

The New York City Teachers Retirement System is making the pledge through a project of the Clinton Global Initiative, started in 2005 by former President Bill Clinton, who made the announcement on Thursday.

The pension fund money will go to projects that affect transportation, power, water, communications and housing in New York City and the surrounding metropolitan region.

The projects could include rebuilding housing destroyed by the late October storm, which killed at least 140 people in 10 states but hit New York and New Jersey the hardest, flooding neighborhoods and knocking out power to some residents for weeks.

The money, besides contributing to the repair and upgrade of facilities used by hundreds of thousands of people, could create thousands of jobs, the Clinton Global Initiative said in a statement on its website.

Clinton was joined by Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, city Comptroller John Liu and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten in announcing the $1 billion allocation. They said the funds would strengthen infrastructure so New York is better protected from the rising sea levels, droughts and storms that coincide with climate change.

"Together the work will benefit our future not only in terms of more efficient buildings and reducing the threat of climate change, but also in the lives of teachers, construction workers, and in lowering energy costs for people all over America," Clinton said. "This is a remarkable commitment."

Donovan, a key figure on President Barack Obama's long-term Sandy recovery effort, said he hoped the commitment of the Teachers Retirement System will "inspire and encourage" others.

"This infusion of private capital is like seed money that will allow us to address not only the recovery from Sandy but also the underlying infrastructure challenges that our communities face," he said.

The Teachers Retirement System manages assets of about $46 billion for 110,000 current members and 80,000 retirees.