MANVILLE (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday more than 300 homes have now been acquired by the state under a post-Superstorm Sandy buyout program.

 

Governor Chris Christie announces the 300th home acquisition of the Post-Sandy Blue Acres Program while ``in flood-prone section of Manville (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

Christie marked the latest milestone of the Blue Acres program with a news conference at the site of a newly-purchased home in Manville that his office said had been flooded repeatedly.

The two-year-old program seeks to buy homes from willing sellers in areas that have been plagued by flooding and return the land to open spaces.

The governor's office says that 309 homes have now been purchased and 716 homes approved for buyouts, with 673 offers made and 468 offers accepted.

They also announced that the program has expanded, with the first purchase of a home in an area that is prone to flooding but wasn't directly impacted by Sandy.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved more than $100 million for the program, in addition to other federal cash.

None of the money so far has gone to Monmouth and Ocean counties, which were hardest hit by Sandy. The state says the coastal communities have not expressed a serious interest in participating.

During the press conference, Christie celebrated the milestone, but also blasted oceanside homeowners who have opposed his plan to widen beaches and build protective sand dunes along the state's entire 127-mile coastline.

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