NEWARK — Gov. Chris Christie is urging Congress to approve a $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy aid package by the new year, while acknowledging Friday that New Jersey cannot afford to rebuild on its own.
“Nor would any state that suffered $37 billion in damages,” the governor said at a news conference in Newark on Friday.
New Jersey was hit hard by the storm, which caused flooding and wind damage from the shore’s barrier islands to Hoboken and Little Ferry.
Christie said that he and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have been fair and even-tempered so far, but that their patience would wane if an aid package isn’t in place by Jan. 1. The Senate could pass it Friday and the House could vote on it after Christmas, he said.
“If Congress can’t even help Americans who have had their homes and their lives destroyed by a natural disaster, they might as well board the place up and close it down because they’re not doing any good for anybody — and that’s on both parties,” Christie said.
New Jersey sends more tax revenue to Washington and gets less back than any other state, he said, and now the Garden State needs a hand.
He said the federal government has helped other states after Katrina, Irene and other storms.
The late-October storm was the worst in state history, damaging many shore towns, causing a storm surge further north, leaving millions in the dark and resulting in 40 deaths.