New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay all costs for debris removal and emergency protection following Hurricane Sandy.
According to the Bergen County Record
, normal FEMA reimbursements amount to about 75 percent of damage costs following storms, with municipal, county and state government responsible for the remainder.
But the Republican governor wrote in a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate that the financial burdens still faced by his state and communities “threatens the ability to continue debris removal operations at the existing cost-share ratio.”
President Barack Obama increased the federal reimbursement rate to 100 percent to pay for costs associated with power restoration and public transportation following the Oct. 29 hurricane, which devastated the Jersey Shore, parts of New York City and Long Island. Last week Christie released a preliminary storm damage estimate of $36.9 billion.
In his letter to Fugate, the governor said Sandy left 22,000 homes uninhabitable, while another 325,000 sustained significant damage. He said the worst damages were on the Jersey Shore from Cape May to the Raritan Bay and the Barrier Islands, along with areas along the Hudson River. All of the state's 21 counties, he noted, were affected by tidal surge flooding and wind damages.
Christie also noted other storm disasters in which the government offered 100 percent reimbursements, including Hurricanes Ike in 2008 and Katrina in 2005.
To help make his case for full funding, Christie was scheduled to be in Washington this week to lobby Congress.
Christie and New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo have pledged to work together so that the two states don't compete with each other for federal disaster relief money. Both have issued a joint statement on their efforts to secure funds before the year ends for cleanup and rebuilding.
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