Wednesday, October 29th marked the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy hitting the east coast and provided another opportunity to examine how the emergency funds appropriated for the storm’s relief efforts have been spent. While there has been progress toward recovery and rebuilding, the continued slow pace of doling out the $48 billion in appropriations underscores the flaws of a knee-jerk, open-your-wallet disaster response policy. Slower spending isn’t necessarily bad, if it’s done more deliberately, but it indicates that we didn’t actually know what needed to be spent when and where in the days following the storm.
Since Congress passed the “emergency” Sandy Supplemental Appropriations Bill, H.R. 152, in January 2013, only $18.7 billion – 38.9 percent – has been directed for a specific use (“Obligated”), and only $11.1 billion – 23.1 percent – has actually gone out the door (been “Outlaid”).
Below is a breakdown of what’s been spent in total compared to a year ago (Figure 1); what’s been spent by each department or agency (Figure 2); and what’s been spent by each state (Figure 3). A glossary for Figure 2 is also available below.
You can download the raw data through August 31, 2014, the most recent available, from the Sandy Program Management Office (PMO), along with our calculations here.