A preliminary report from New York City Comptroller Alan Hevesi pronounced some staggering numbers in the wake of the attack on the World Trade Center, citing it could cost New York City as much as $105 billion by the end of fiscal year 2003.
Hevesi said in the Newsday report that the city already has lost $45 billion in the value of buildings and people. More losses of $45-$60 billion are predicted in ongoing costs, including lost economic activity, during the next two fiscal years.
As a result of the tragedy, city taxes and other revenue will be $1.3 billion less than previously expected for fiscal 2002 and 2003.
Insurance payouts are a major player in the numbers, with Hevesi expecting life insurance payouts of $4 billion, $11 billion in business interruption insurance and $5 billion for coverage such as unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and health insurance. Hevesi said insurance likely will cover only one-third of the costs from the tragedy, covering nearly $37 billion of the tab.
The fiscal year runs from June to June. The city is in the process of fiscal year 2002 now.
The city also could lose 115,000 jobs this fiscal year although some of those jobs could be offset by new positions resulting from the cleanup, repair, construction and security in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks that brought down the Twin Towers.
Of the $45 billion lost in buildings and people, the comptroller estimated that:
— Rebuilding the World Trade Center as smaller buildings and restoring other damaged buildings will cost $12 billion;
— Replacing and repairing infrastructure will bring a price tag of $9.4 billion, including $4 billion for subways, $3 billion for telephone, electric and other utilities and $2.4 billion for losses for the Port Authority, including the PATH train.
While saying it is impossible to put a dollar figure on human life, Hevesi said one way economists put an economic value on people is to determine how much the person would have earned over his or her expected working life. Using that analysis, the cost to the city economy is about $11 billion.
He said while the response from the federal and state government has been great, more funds still will be necessary.
Hevesi’s research made a number of recommendations which include: expediting disaster loans and grants to businesses large and small; providing tax incentives and utility cost breaks to businesses; rebuilding the World Trade Center as soon as possible; creating a rebuilding commission to oversee cleanup and construction; and establishing a security commission led by the police commissioner.
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