NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY (PIX11)—Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday the U.S. Department Of Defense in conjunction with the National Guard has establish emergency mobile fuel stations around the city, according to the Associated Press.
Free gasoline is being rationed out to emergency vehicles and the public, with a 10-gallon-per-vehicle limit. You'll be able to fill up directly from 5,000-gallon, temporary fuel trucks located at the following locations: the Queens Amory at 93-05 160th St. in Jamaica, the Bronx Armory at 10 W. 195th St., the Brooklyn Armory at 1579 Bedford Ave., and the Staten Island/Elizabeth Armory at 321 Manor Road.
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The harbor had been closed because of the hurricane, creating huge backups in delivery.
To help things along, Cuomo has signed an executive order that waives state requirement that fuel tankers register and pay a tax before unloading. At the federal level, certain regulations have been waived (known as the Jones Act) that should hasten the delivery of fuel to the region. The gas shortage, meanwhile, evoked memories of the 1970s oil shocks, with mile-long lines at stations that actually had gas; police are on hand to keep peace.
Power began to return Saturday to the 2.2 million customers affected; Con-Edison is on the job returning power to the 900,000 still in the dark.
On Thursday, Cuomo warned shops NOT to price gouge and stepped up pressure on utilities to restore power to desperate New Yorkers.
Indeed, columnists and other observers were increasingly blaming Con Ed, not Sandy, for the delays in service restoration. The utility announced Thursday that the 'vast majority' of customers, who are served by overhead lines, won't get power back until Nov. 10 and 11. Remaining customers may have to wait another week or more after that. The difference is simply explained: Manhattan is power by underground systems, which can be more efficiently repaired than overhead lines.
Cuomo said utilities faced stiff penalties if they dropped the ball in quickly restoring service, while acknowledging they were working hard. Sandy recovery would be a test of their performance.
"I want them to know that. And I think they do now," Cuomo said.
Meanwhile, trains have resumed service back and forth across the East River. Cuomo said Saturday 80 percent of the subway system had been restored, with 4 and 5 trains running for the first time in almost a week and more restorations expected over the coming days.
The restoration of subway service was tied to getting the power grid back up, said MTA Chair Joe Lhota. "We need that third rail lit," and all that's lacking, he said, was "the juice." Service in lower Manhattan has restored vital links to Brooklyn.
And, Washington has declared Westchester and Rockland counties disaster areas, Cuomo said, but the focus of the crisis remained on places like Staten Island, where the grim accounting of Sandy's toll continues. More help is on the way from Pentagon ships and helicopters, this as suffering residents direct their anger at FEMA, OEM and the National Guard.
Also, Albany will pledge $100 million into funds dedicated to victims of Sandy and home repair, adding that 30 state-federal teams would be fanning out in damaged areas to start the process of getting disaster aid. Cuomo, perhaps hopefully, said devastated regions were starting to "transition to the reconstruction phase."
In other news, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said city schools would open Monday, but 40 might not be ready to receive students, because of power-related issues. The city would alert families in advance of the schools' status. Other developments: Most city parks would be open by Saturday, beaches remain unsafe, and tap water is safe to drink everywhere but Breezy Point.
The city established food and water distribution centers in Staten Island, Brooklyn and Manhattan, and AT&T installed pods near these centers where people could get cell service and charge their phones. SEE WHERE TO GET HELP
The death toll in New York State stands right at 48, including 41 here in the city -- most of them due to drowning. That number is sure to be revised along the way. On Staten Island, the bodies of two little brothers who were washed away by a storm surge were discovered in a marsh.
The recovery continued as water continued to be pumped from tunnels -- super pumpers from the Army Corps of Engineers are on the way -- and discussion grew about how New York would rebuild.
U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan) said New York has to rebuild in a way that protects itself from the kind of damage wrought by Sandy. Th city grew because of New York Harbor, and now it has to protect itself from it.
"There will be a storm of this magnitude again," he said.
And come Sunday, there will be no ING New York City Marathon; it's been canceled for the foreseeable future. The announcement came Friday, Bloomberg took heat from a legion of critics for holding the event -- even as a shocked and grieving city tries to recover from Sandy.
"While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division," Bloomberg said.
In the meantime across the Hudson River, Gov. Christie Christie has ordered that people in counties buy gas over the weekend on an odd-even basis in New Jersey.
According to a release from his office, the last digit on the license plate would determine whether it is odd or even (ignoring any letters that follow). Any specialized plates or plates, or those not displaying a number, will be considered odd-numbered plates.
Christie ordered 12 counties in New Jersey put the system in place. They are: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Morris, Monmouth, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.
The odd-even system took effect noon Saturday. People are encouraged to confirm details with their municipality. Montclair Township is operating under a slightly different system to determine how license plates ending with a letter are considered.
Sandy really trashed New Jersey killing 22 people there. About 1.2 million customers were without power Saturday, down from a peak of 2.7 million. Christie's office has compiled a list of when utility companies expect to restore electric service to every affected community. He says 8,000 out-of-state utility workers have now arrived in New Jersey, joining 10,000 based in the state.