Connecticut pulls short straw in Sandy aid

The first outlay of Hurricane Sandy recovery money has been distributed, and Connecticut has received a fraction, about $72 million, of the $3.2 billion Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he needs.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Wednesday it would distribute one-third of the $16 billion appropriated by the Sandy recovery bill for Community Development Block Grants. The storm-hit states can use that grant money to rebuild and protect against future storms.

That first installment will total $5.4 billion, with New York City receiving $1.77 billion; New York state, $1.71 billion; New Jersey, $1.82 billion; and Connecticut, Maryland and Rhode Island splitting the rest.

There will be more money in block grants distributed and other money available at other federal agencies to help recover from the super storm. But Connecticut, which was hoping to use the funds to bury electric power lines, move sewage treatment facilities on the coast and for other purposes, may have to scale back on its ambitious plans.

Nevertheless the Connecticut state delegation hailed the release of money from HUD.

“This money is critical to Connecticut’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy,” a joint release from the delegation said. “From repairing and improving infrastructure to addressing coastal flood plain issues and helping homeowners and businesses rebuild, the state has a long list of targets that this funding may address.”

On Tuesday, the delegation sent a letter to HUD lobbying for Connecticut’s share of the money. “It is imperative that Connecticut be included in CDGB funding allocations as this was not the case when our state was severely impacted last year with Tropical Storm Irene and a heavy snowfall in October,” the lawmakers wrote.

“More people in Connecticut have registered for (Federal Emergency Management Agency) assistance than in either of the previous storms, and we cannot afford to be left out again,” the delegation wrote.