N.J. seeks $36.8 billion from U.S. to cover Sandy costs

Superstorm Sandy’s costs to New Jersey are adding up to even more than previously estimated.

Gov. Chris Christie says the storm costs now total $36.8 billion with more than 30,000 homes and businesses destroyed or extensively damaged. Christie, who is seeking that amount in federal aid, announced the revised total Wednesday to include $7.4 billion to cover mitigation and prevention of future disasters. A preliminary total of $29.4 billion announced last week is for repairs and response

The governor said he’s hoping to get federal funds to help the state recover.

“We recognize that the federal government has got financial issues. They’re dealing with fiscal cliff issues and other things, but it has always been the role of the federal government to step up,” Christie said.

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“Given the important economic role that New Jersey and New York plays in our nation’s economy, I’m confident that the President and Congress will step up and help us this time,” he said.

Christie says rebuilding will not be easy and will be the top priority of his administration.

He’s named former assistant state attorney general Mark Ferzan to oversee the recovery efforts.

Ferzan said Wednesday he’ll get to work immediately.

“I need to fully understand the breadth and scope of the damages around the state, examine all available public and private funding sources, look at federal and state legislative initiative that make sense, and facilitate the development of proposed plans so that we can move forward,” he said.

Ferzan says the plans will take into account measures to make the shore resistant to future storms.

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