FEMA in New Jersey to assess storm damage, says Christie
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Gov. Chris Christie said that he will only seek a disaster declaration for damage incurred by Tuesday's storms if it's needed to help residents get enhanced assistance or federal relief more quickly.
Christie made the comments on Friday as Federal Emergency Management Agency workers were on the ground assessing damage caused by the line of storms that battered the southern part of the state.
The state emergency management office estimates the storms caused $31 million worth of damage.
"If there's anything that we need to do that a declaration of emergency would enhance, I'd be happy to do that," Christie said. "I've been instructed at this point by (state lawyers) and by the state police that they don't need one. If they need one, I'll sign on. I don't sign these just for the fun of it. There has to be a reason to do it."
New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assemblymen John Burzichelli and Adam Taliaferro have urged Christie to seek federal emergency aid.
More than 80,000 homes and businesses were still without electricity on Friday. Most of those who remain without power are Atlantic City Electric customers. Christie said he was assured by the company's CEO that 90 to 95 percent of the power will be restored by Friday night, with everyone else restored over the weekend.
Most of those without power are in Gloucester and Camden counties. The utility lost service to more than 280,000, which Christie said is 60,000 more than lost power during Superstorm Sandy in that same area.
PSE&G expects to restore service to more than 2,500 customers who remain without electricity on Friday.
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