Christie outlines all federal spending he wants for Hurricane Sandy relief
New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie used his State of the State address on Tuesday to outline all the government programs that have been implemented as his state recovers from Hurricane Sandy, “the worst storm to strike New Jersey in 100 years.”
That includes creating a new “a cabinet-level position” in the state dedicated to storm recovery, asking the federal government to pay 100 percent of “significant” debris removal and helping residents obtain temporary housing in hotels.
“The people of New Jersey are in need,” Christie said, “not from their own actions, but from an act of God that delivered a natural, human, and financial disaster — and we are thankful to the people of America for honoring the tradition of providing relief.”
“We have stood with the citizens of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Iowa, Vermont, California and Missouri in their times of need—now I trust that they will stand with us,” Christie said, justifying his still-pending request for relief funding from the federal government. (RELATED: Christie walks back criticism of Speaker of the House John Boehner)
In his remarks, Christie pointed out that 346,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the storm, with 41,000 families still displaced.
Here is the list of post-Sandy government responses and programs Christie discussed during the speech:
• We have created a cabinet-level position to coordinate the State’s efforts across every agency — and Marc Ferzan is here today — ready to work with you on this restoration effort.
• We’ve requested the federal government to pay 100 percent of the costs of the significant debris removal that we require — and have already received $18 million for that task.
• We have secured $20 million from the Federal Highway Administration for emergency repair of our roads, bridges and tunnels — a down payment on a major infrastructure task ahead.
• We have directed our Department of Environmental Protection to streamline approvals for restoring critical infrastructure.
• We have overseen the removal of over 2.5 million cubic yards of debris to date and counting. Seventeen towns have already completed debris removal. Over 1,000 trucks are working daily to continue dry land debris removal, with 26 more towns moving towards completion. We are now removing debris from our waterways. New Jerseyans need to know—nearly 1,400 vessels were either sunken or abandoned in our waterways during Sandy. In Mantoloking alone, 58 buildings and 8 cars were washed into Barnegat Bay. We will remove this debris and dredge the bay to reduce the risk of flooding and to improve the health of the bay — beginning the very same week that this administration furthers its commitment to the health of the bay by implementing the toughest fertilizer law in America.
• We have helped get temporary rental assistance for 41,000 New Jersey families, and where necessary, secured transitional shelters in hotels or motels — or even in Fort Monmouth.
• We have worked with the Small Business Administration to secure nearly $189 million in loans for thousands of home and small businesses, and through our New Jersey EDA, we have provided lines of credit for businesses awaiting insurance reimbursement, grants for job training and benefits for displaced workers.
• Our New Jersey DOT has been one of the busiest agencies — removing over 4,400 truckloads of debris from state and local roads, and cleaning another 4,300 truckloads of sand to restore and replenish our beaches.
• Our Department of Education has worked night and day to get schools re-opened right away, and where that wasn’t possible, to get them restored by the next school year — all while maintaining our commitment to a full 180-day school year of education for our kids.
• Executive Order 107 makes sure that when insurance payments do come, they are not compromised by excessive deductibles and ensures that our citizens maximize their reimbursement.
Follow Alex on Twitter