Christie Urges Patience on Financial Relief for Sandy Victims
Following a delay of Sandy relief legislation at the beginning of this year that outraged NJ Governor Chris Christie and the entire New Jersey Congressional delegation, the House of Representatives finally voted in favor of a $51 billion package last week.
Coupled with a previously-approved $10 billion flood aid package, the legislation is supposed to be approved this week by the U.S. Senate and then sent to President Barack Obama for his signature, but financial assistance - for Garden state homeowners and business - won't be immediately forthcoming.
Christie Asks for Patience
Everywhere he's gone for the past several weeks, Governor Chris Christie has stated he's optimistic the money will soon start flowing to where it's needed, and we will have a good summer at the Jersey Shore, but he's asking everyone to be patient.
Speaking this evening on Townsquare Media's Ask The Governor show, Christie said once Obama signs the aid package, "There are certain programs that will just sort of run on auto-pilot for lack of a better term - the continued disaster assistance to folks, the checks that go out them under that program - the state Department of Transportation will begin to work immediately with federal DOT to get a lot of the infrastructure money to repair roads, bridges, reimburse the state for what we've already spent, and then work on other projects...then there will be the Community Development Block Grant piece...within 7 days after the bill is passed the Secretary of HUD has to make an allocation of that block grant money - how much will go to each of the states."
He said, "We have to submit a program spending that money - to HUD - and then HUD has somewhere between 45 and 60 days to sign off on that program or to make changes to it...we're going to make proposals for a business grant program, a homeowner grant program for people who want to rebuild their homes ...and also funds for people who don't have to completely rebuild but have to renovate, and refurbish to new standards...those programs may be 45 to 60 days out...some of the other money will hit relatively immediately...so all the different programs will react differently."
Buyout Program Still Up in the Air
The Governor also said a possible buyout program - an expansion of the current "Blue Acres" program - is still up in the air.
During a recent town hall meeting, the Governor stressed the shore won't look the same as it did last summer but he's hoping it will be functional and livable, and that, "Enough businesses will be reopened so that people will come here and be able to be served by those businesses….that the beaches will be in good enough shape and clean and put together and ready to go that people will be able to come and swim in the Atlantic Ocean and sit on the beach and read their books and get a little tan."
Because tourism generates more than $38 billion a year in New Jersey, rebuilding the shore from the destruction caused by hurricane Sandy has become Christie's top priority and focus.