The long-awaited $50.5 billion aid bill for Superstorm Sandy victims is finally on its way to President Barack Obama's desk for his signature.
The Senate voted Monday to approve the emergency aid bill, three months after the storm hit the Northeast, causing catastrophic damage and destruction.
The Senate cleared the bill by a vote of 62-36, although, it was light of support from the Republicans with more than three-quarters of GOP senators voting against the full package. The House passed the bill two weeks ago.
"I commend Congress for giving families and businesses the help they deserve, and I will sign this bill into law as soon as it hits my desk," Obama said in a statement late Monday.
The measure is aimed primarily at helping residents and businesses as well as state and local governments rebuild from the Oct. 29 storm.
Sandy roared up the East Coast and has been blamed for more than 130 deaths and billions of dollars in residential and business property damage, particularly in New York and New Jersey.
Sandy damaged or destroyed 305,000 housing units in New York and more than 265,000 businesses were disrupted there, according to officials. In New Jersey, more than 346,000 households were destroyed or damaged.
The largest portion of the approved aid is $16 billion for Housing and Urban Development Department community development block grants.
Of that, about $12.1 billion will be shared among Sandy victims as well as those from other federally declared disasters from the years 2011-2013. The remaining $3.9 billion is solely for Sandy-related projects.
More than $11 billion will go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief aid fund for shelter, restoring power and other storm-interrupted utility services and meeting other immediate needs arising from Sandy and other disasters.
Another $10 billion is devoted to repairing New York and New Jersey transit systems and making them more resistant to future storms. Sandy produced record waves and storm surge that hit both the New York and New Jersey coasts, flooding streets, tunnels and subway lines.
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