Also Monday, Christie also announced more Sandy relief money is on its way from the federal government.
“We’ve gotten our first phase of our disaster recovery plan approved. It’s going to be over $1.8 billion in aid, most of it focused on housing both for homeowners and renters,” said Christie.
The funding will help people do whatever repairs are necessary to get them back in their houses, whether it involves elevating an existing home or rebuilding one that was destroyed in Sandy, said Christie.
The federal aid also includes a business grant program that will provide Sandy-impacted businesses with working capital grants so they can be up and running by the summer, Christie announced.
“You’re going to see grants of up to $150,000 per homeowner on the housing side of things. On the business side of things, $50,000 working capital grant. The great thing is, one upside, these are grants not loans. So this is money you do not have to pay back that’s going to be used just to try to get businesses and homeowners back up and running,” said Christie.
Applications for the business grants will be accepted starting on Wednesday, May 1, said the governor.
Congress approved more than $60 billion in Sandy relief funds, most of it for New Jersey and New York, despite opposition from many Congressional Republicans who wanted to spend less.
Christie said hearing a rehash of the facts about Sandy on this six-month anniversary reminded him how surprised he was that Congress delayed approving federal aid.
“This storm was twice the size of Hurricane Katrina and that it was the second most expensive storm in terms of damage caused – over $75 billion,” he told Scott. “But that’s ancient history now. We’ve got the aid package, we’re starting to get it moved through now and it’s going to be out there to help businesses and individuals in my state.”
Christie said most of the Jersey Shore is ready for summer and he’s confident the tourists will be there.
“What we’re going to be doing with this aid is we’re going to start within the next three weeks a $25 million tourism advertising and marketing program to let people know we’re back here at the shore ready for their business and ready for them to have fun with their families,” said Christie.
The governor said hotels and rental houses are ready for beachgoers. And he added that tourists who flock to New Jersey’s beaches will be doing something good for the people who’ve suffered over the past six months because of Sandy’s devastation.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 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.)
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