Gov On Aid Request: 'We're Not Negotiating'

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Superstorm Sandy caused $36.8 billion in damage in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday.

The governor is requesting that amount, which is greater than his state’s entire budget, from the federal government.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports

“These are realistic numbers that we need,” Christie told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Levon Putney.

More than 30,000 homes or businesses were destroyed or sustained substantial damage from last month’s storm.

The governor said the New Jersey congressional delegation will fight to help secure the needed funds.

“We’re embarking on a serious and necessary path and it’s going to require a great deal of federal assistance,” said Christie. “We haven’t padded the numbers, we’re not playing games, we’re not negotiating. These are the numbers that we need.”

The governor also named Marc Ferzan, a former colleague at the U.S. attorney’s office, to spearhead the state’s storm recovery and rebuilding efforts.

Christie said he has been in contact with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who earlier this week announced his state is asking for $32 billion in aid to recover from the storm plus an additional accounting of $9 billion for mitigation of damage and for preventive measures for the next disastrous storm..

Christie said he and Cuomo promised not to compete for federal assistance.

“This is a regional problem. And you all have seen that from transit and the economies are so intertwined,” Christie said.

Christie noted the aid being sought by New Jersey and New York is much less than the $112 billion in federal dollars spent to help the Gulf coast recover from Hurricane Katrina.

But Christie said he’s cognizant of the fact that the cost of rebuilding in the northeast is higher than in the region affected by Katrina.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has distributed more than $500 million in aid since the storm and 230,000 New Jerseyans have registered for assistance, Christie said.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Watch & Listen LIVE