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As Senate Passes Sandy Relief Bill, Town & FEMA to Fix Roads, Beaches

U.S. Senate approves a $50.5 billion federal aid bill for New York and neighboring states while Southold will meet with FEMA to fix long-damaged road ends.

Three months after Hurricane Sandy destroyed much of Long Island and the Northeast, a $50.5 billion federal aid bill passed Monday night by a vote of 62-36 in the U.S. Senate, with Democrats unanimously voting in favor of the legislation.

Via his Facebook page Monday, Rep. Tim Bishop, D-Southampton, said, "Our communities need this immediate and long-term assistance and the federal government has responded thanks to a bipartisan effort in Congress."

Bishop noted that the bill now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature.

While Southold was spared Sandy's most devastating blows, some coastal homes experienced flooding, beaches suffered heavy erosion and many bulkheads and road ends in town were damaged.

Southold Town engineer James Richter told the Southold Town Board during Tuesday’s work session that he and his department will meet with members of the Federal Emergency Administration on Wednesday to discuss funding for road end repair projects — road ends like those at Marratooka Road and Pipes Neck Road that are dangerous, lacking guard rails — repairs that needed to be done three months ago.

“We’re going to see what we can do, get the minimal work done for safety reasons,” Richter said.

Richter added that eroded beaches like Southold Town Beach and Klipp Park in Greenport also still need extensive grating before spring.

A number of hurricane relief nonprofit organizations have cropped up on the East End following Superstorm Sandy to deliver immediate aid to victims who may wait months or years before they receive a check from their insurance companies or FEMA, including the Hamptons Hurricane Relief Fund, which is currently collecting building materials to repair storm ravaged homes.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who held a press conference in Point Lookout on Sunday about the legislation and the specific projects the funds provides to storm-damaged communities from the New Jersey Shore to Long Beach to Montauk, said after Monday’s vote, "At long last, relief is now coming to our homeowners who need to rebuild, small businesses who are trying to reopen, and communities that have laid out billions of dollars for repairs after the storm.”

Before the vote, Sen. Michael Lee, a Republican from Utah, called for an amendment to institute a federal spending cut to the forthcoming nine years to pay for the Sandy aid, but both Democrats and Republicans rejected it by a 62-35 vote, according to Newsday.

Along with Congress’s approval of $9.7 billion bill for national flood insurance claims that was approved Jan. 4, the $50.5 billion legislation will deliver about $60 billion in aid that Obama requested Dec. 7.

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