LAKEWOOD, N.J. (AP) – Gov. Chris Christie says he asking the federal government for $250 million in Sandy aid to help New Jersey buy out homeowners in flood-prone areas, but does not want to force people to sell.

Speaking Tuesday before senior citizens in Lakewood, Christie for the first time indicated the scale of buyout program he is willing to run in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

The federal money would be enough to purchase 1,000 homes valued at $250,000 each.

Christie had previously said he would only consider buyouts if entire neighborhoods would go along, and did not want to pursue piecemeal purchases.

Some environmentalists criticized him last week for not including buyouts in a proposal to spend $1.8 billion being sent to New Jersey for unmet needs after last year’s storm.

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