NEW YORK (AP) — More than 100 public housing buildings in New York City still battling heating problems after they were damaged by Superstorm Sandy will get new boiler systems installed ahead of schedule, officials announced Sunday.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will spend $100 million to replace the 60 boilers serving 110 buildings. It will also reimburse the city the $56 million it has spent since Sandy hit the East Coast on temporary boilers that don't always work properly.
"We've cut through the red tape and we brought this situation now to a speedy end," U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday, noting that work will start later this year instead of the original target date of 2016.
"Bureaucratic infighting and red tape have denied residents the most basic of necessities — reliable heat and hot water. For many in our city's public housing, the hardship is still real."
The boilers serve residential buildings on Manhattan's Lower East Side, Brooklyn's Coney Island and the Rockaway section of Queens.
Schumer and Mayor Bill de Blasio held a news conference to announce the project at the Stanley M. Isaacs Houses — three high-rises in Manhattan's Yorkville neighborhood that were flooded in the October 2012 storm.
In addition, the new boilers will run on natural gas, rather than oil, and be built to resist flooding damage.
"A lot of the taxpayers' money will be saved because we'll be making serious solutions, not just Band-Aids," the mayor said.
The agreement was reached after Shola Olatoye, chairwoman of the New York City Housing Authority, visited Washington for a meeting with FEMA officials organized by Schumer.