Governor Cuomo, Governor Rosselló and More Than One Thousand New Yorkers across the State Rally In Support of Puerto Rico

Onondaga County Executive Joannie Mahoney and Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh issue statements of support

More Than One Thousand New Yorkers – From Albany to Buffalo – Demand Immediate Action from the Federal Government to Assist Puerto Rico

Governors Call on Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell to Fully Fund $94.4 Billion Disaster Relief Aid Package

More Than 130 Days After Hurricane Maria – Statewide Rallies Build on Governor Cuomo’s Nation-Leading Efforts to Help Puerto Rico Recover and Rebuild

Make Your Voice Heard: Call Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell to Provide Immediate Relief for Puerto Rico – Speaker Paul Ryan, (202) 225-0600; Senate Majority Leader McConnell, (202) 224-2541

On Saturday, February 3rd, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Governor Ricardo A. Rosselló   joined more than one thousand New Yorkers across the state to rally in support of Puerto Rico and call on the federal government to fully fund the island’s $94.4 billion disaster relief aid package. At a rally in New York City, Governors Cuomo and Rosselló urged Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to provide immediate relief to New York’s brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, with this unprecedented call to action replicated at events in Albany, Buffalo, Cornell, Rochester and Syracuse. This wave of support builds on Governor Cuomo’s continued commitment to help the people of Puerto Rico build back and restore its power grid, which suffered severe damage from Hurricane Maria in September 2017.

“Puerto Rico is not a foreign country. These are American citizens, our brothers and sisters, and as New Yorkers it is our responsibility to ensure they have the resources they need to recover and rebuild,” Governor Cuomo said. “While the federal administration flounders and our neighbors remain living in unacceptable conditions, New York’s commitment to Puerto Rico will not rest. We are calling on President Trump and his administration to fully fund the aid package Puerto Rico so desperately needs, and to finally deliver fairness for our fellow Americans citizens.”

Supplies donated for Puerto Rico Relief Effort (file photo)

“From day one, Governor Cuomo has stepped up to help Puerto Rico recover, and he continues to step up every day with supplies, resources and support,” Governor Ricardo Rosselló said. “Thanks to his support and our New York brothers and sisters, we have made great strides in our recovery, but there is still much work to be done. We stand united as we call on Congress to give us the help we so desperately need to fully rebuild back stronger than before.”

Building on Governor Cuomo’s efforts to deliver resources to the island through the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort and the Mutual Aid process, rally events attended by hundreds of New Yorkers took place across the state on Saturday, February 3. Events took place in:

  • Albany at the Albany Labor Temple
  • Buffalo at The Belle Center
  • Ithaca at Cornell University’s Biotechnology Building
  • Rochester at Our Lady of the Americas Church
  • Syracuse at The Warehouse Building

Since Puerto Rico’s recovery process began more than 130 days ago, progress has been made in restoring power to some communities, but critical improvements remain gridlocked by the lack of attention and funding from the federal government, including the restoration of power to nearly one-third of the island.

To urge the federal government to immediately and fully fund the $94.4 billion Build Back Better Plan, call your Speaker Paul Ryan at (202) 225-0600 and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at (202) 224-2541 and make your voice heard.

Restoring Power to Puerto Rico

At the Governor’s direction and led by the New York Power Authority, the New York utility contingent working on power restoration in the San Juan metro area have restored power to nearly 280,000 customers, roughly 91 percent of the customers in the area. With 297 distribution circuits restored, the New York contingent is entering the last mile of its power restoration efforts, and it is anticipated that electricity services will be substantially restored to the San Juan region by mid-March.

Since November, under the Governor’s direction, New York State has maintained a contingent of more than 450 utility workers, led by NYPA, including workers from Con Edison, National Grid, PSEG, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp, and AVANGRID. The teams have been coordinating directly with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority in cooperation with the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The crews have been undertaking repairs to transmission lines and supporting other electric infrastructure work. These dedicated utility workers arrived with hundreds of bucket trucks, diggers, excavators and other specialized equipment for undertaking the necessary repairs to damaged transmission and distribution lines.

Building Puerto Rico Back Better

In December, Governors Cuomo and Rosselló and members of the New York Congressional Delegation released a Build Back Better Assessment Report that called for a $94.4 billion federal aid package to rebuild a stronger, more resilient Puerto Rico. The plan identified specific sectors needing investments, including housing, power grid and resiliency, agriculture and others. Together with $487 million for public safety and first response and $9 billion for long-term recovery management, the total funding need is $94.4 billion.

Governor Cuomo also established the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Working Group and released the “Build Back Better” report, a comprehensive plan with recommendations on how to rebuild and transform Puerto Rico’s power system into one that it is more resilient, efficient, advanced and less dependent on fossil fuel imports that cost Puerto Ricans more than $2 billion annually. The report, created by the Energy Resiliency Working Group, identifies and recommends a total of $17 billion in power system repair, resiliency and modernization investments in Puerto Rico.

Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort

Devastation on the island, generators await delivery

New York has deployed more than 1,000 personnel and distributed 4,400 pallets of supplies collected from 13 donations sites across the state:

Personnel deployed include:

  • More than 450 New York utility personnel, more than 50 Tactical Power Restoration experts, and 15 damage assessment experts
  • 132 National Guard Military Police
  • 125 National Guard Engineers
  • 60 National Guard soldiers
  • Four Black Hawk helicopters
  • 14 Airmen
  • 156 Volunteer Physicians, Physicians Assistants, Nurses, and Nurse Practitioners
  • More than 70 Port Authority personnel
  • More than 130 State Troopers
  • Five-member logistical support team from the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
  • Two Department of Environmental Conservation drone pilots

Supplies distributed include:

  • 2 million bottles of water
  • 1 million individual baby wipes
  • 9 million diapers
  • 321,830 feminine products
  • 101,520 containers of baby food
  • 91,164 canned goods
  • 64,400 bottles/pouches of juice/sport drinks
  • 13,275 flashlights
  • 8,600 solar lamps
  • 5,440 first aid kits
  • 1,181 water filtration systems
  • 155,000 miles of utility cable, 7,600 splice kits 1,485 cross arms and 50 transformers for power restoration efforts
  • More than $1 million in critical medication and supplies for San Juan, Vieques, Culebra and other locations, in partnership with GNYHA and the Afya Foundation

In a statement, Senator José M. Serrano Jr. said, “I stand in solidarity with Governor Cuomo as we call on the federal administration to fund the $95 billion dollar disaster relief package that will rebuild communities and restore power to Puerto Rico. It’s been more than five months since Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Puerto Rico, and with much of the island still without power, it is time for our federal government to step up and take action that was needed on day one to help our fellow Americans.”

While dozens of downstate State Senators and Assembly members stood behind Gov. Cuomo’s efforts to assist in the rebuilding of Puerto Rico, the following is what our local Syracuse area representatives had so say in support of this state-wide effort.

Local reaction to the Crisis on the Island of Puerto Rico

Onondaga County Executive, Joanie Mahoney

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, “When Hurricane Maria devastated the Island of Puerto Rico, Governor Cuomo led immediate relief efforts to help those in need. People from across State, including many from Central New York, stepped up to volunteer, donate or provide aid to those in need and we are grateful for their effort.”

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh added, “It is no surprise that Governor Cuomo guided New York to the aid of Puerto Rico, because when someone is in need, New Yorkers always step up. New York has provided critical resources to those in Puerto Rico. These are dire circumstances, and I urge our federal government to provide full aid and funding to those in need in Puerto Rico.”

Syracuse University Vice President of Community Engagement Bea Gonzalez who was part of the demonstrations at Syracuse University said, “It has been more than 120 days since Hurricane Maria devastated parts of the United States, including Puerto Rico. However the island of Puerto Rico is still nowhere near what it was before the storm. Thanks to Governor Cuomo, New York State has been a key supporter as the island has navigated its long and road to recovery. It is critical that the federal government deliver much-needed assistance as quickly as possible to the people of Puerto Rico.”

For more information about the recovery and relief efforts underway in Puerto Rico, and to learn how you can assist, please visit the Governor’s Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands webpage.