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New Federal Rebuilding Standards Announced In Kearny

KEARNY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Federal officials have announced new standards for businesses and homeowners rebuilding after superstorm Sandy.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood spoke Thursday in front of an electrical substation in Kearny that was shut down by flooding last fall.

The Administration officials announced those using federal dollars for major renovations to homes or businesses will now have to follow new uniform rules.

"It will require all structures that have to be substantially rebuilt and that rely on funding from the supplemental spending bill to elevate or flood-proof one foot higher than the most recent FEMA guidance," Donovan told reporters, including WCBS 880's Levon Putney.

"In Hoboken, a brick building that can't be elevated, you have to take steps to flood-proof" appliances like boilers, Donovan said.

New Federal Rebuilding Standards Announced In Kearny

Donovan said the new rules do not affect everyone rebuilding after Sandy.

"It's those rebuilding projects that require spending over 50 percent of the market value of the property," the HUD secretary said.

"Mitigating against future flood risks makes sense and, most importantly, will ensure that we save lives and save money in the next storm," Donovan said of the new rules.

The new guidelines apply to rail lines and electrical substations as well.

"This will save money over the long-term," LaHood said.

LaHood said these standards will help avoid damage the next time there is flooding.

These rules only apply to projects involving major federal assistance, Putney reported.

Donovan heads a Sandy recovery task force created by President Barack Obama.

Flooding at the substation significantly affected Amtrak's Northeast Corridor line, which is also used by NJ TRANSIT. Service into Manhattan was limited for weeks after the storm.

The rebuilding of the substation to the new specifications is expected to cost about $25 million.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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