NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Thursday that while the cost of the damage to Connecticut businesses, homes and public properties from last month's superstorm is an estimated $360 million and climbing, it doesn't amount to "a long-term hit to our economy."
Malloy told The Associated Press that bridges, airports, beaches, boardwalks, and state parks suffered "very substantial damage" from the Oct. 29 storm, and he wouldn't be surprised if the cost to repair public infrastructure runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
But "We didn't experience a catastrophic long-term hit to our economy," the governor said. "I think the storm for us was a series of personal tragedies playing out in families, but its overall impact on the economy is, I think, manageable."
Connecticut suffered more than $1 billion in damage combined from Sandy, Irene last year, and an October 2011 storm, Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba said.
Most of the damage to homes and businesses from Superstorm Sandy involves private insurance claims. The figure also includes claims to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and costs incurred by state agencies, municipalities and certain nonprofits, officials said.
Earlier this week, FEMA reported that more than 7,270 property owners in the state have applied for assistance, including 6,000 along the shoreline. About $4 million in federal funding has been awarded to residents affected by the storm, mostly for temporary housing costs.
Economists note the large burden placed on hard-hit residents and businesses, but say the economy will benefit from rebuilding, noting that federal and insurance money will flow into the region.
"There's no question there will be an increase in spending to replace what happened to all these homes," said Joe McGee, vice president of the Business Council of Fairfield County. "I don't think you ever say that having a major storm is a plus for your economy. But on the other hand, there is a rebuilding that is going to occur, and a lot of dollars are going to be spent to rebuild."
Peter Gioia, vice president and economist at the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said last week he expects some businesses ultimately will not survive the storm damage. He said it will depend on how long they can last without cash flow during rebuilding and whether they are able to get insurance coverage and at what cost.
The negative economic effects of Superstorm Sandy in Connecticut will be felt more strongly in cities and towns where the damage occurred, he said, but the state itself will probably break even.
Associated Press writer Susan Haigh contributed to this story.