Gov. Chris Christie’s administration on Monday opened a second front to deflect the Hoboken mayor’s weekend accusation that the administration threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy recovery money if a politically connected real estate deal was not fast-tracked.
Marc Ferzan, executive director of the governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding, held a conference call with reporters Monday, saying that the City of Hoboken has received $70 million in Sandy-related recovery money.
“Hoboken has in no way trailed similarly situated communities in the receipt of rebuilding funds,” said Colin Reed, a Christie spokesman at the end of the call.
The 2 p.m. conference call follows Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno’s morning appearance in Union Beach where she denied Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s accusation that Guadagno threatened to withhold Sandy recovery money if the mayor did not support a real estate deal that interested Christie.
Guadagno told the Star-Ledger that Zimmer’s accusation "does not withstand scrutiny when all the facts are examined. Any suggestion that Sandy funds were tied to the approval of a project in New Jersey is completely false."
Ferzan said his office has received $14 billion in Sandy-related recovery requests throughout the state, with a pool of money to be distributed of between 17-20 billion.
“I can find no way that any community that’s getting the short end of the stick,’’ Ferzan said. “We’ve got very limited resources. “
For example, Ferzan said that Hoboken, a city of two square miles, has requested roughly $100 million in hazard mitigation money, or roughly one-third of the $300 million that is allocated for projects throughout the state in that program.
The state, Ferzan said, is also committed to working with Hoboken “on flood mitigation efforts as more resources become available.”
Ferzan said the Christie administration has had to prioritize which towns get what money and for which projects, but that his office worked in concert with numerous other state agencies to come up with a strategy that best suited the whole of the state.
“When we start with $14 billion in requests, you have to dole out funds in ways that is going to have meaningful impact in the state,” Ferzan said.
But the City of Hoboken was not left out of that, he said.
Ferzan said Hoboken has received:
- Nearly $6.3 million in FEMA’s Individual Assistance program
- $43 million from FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program
- $80 million from private insurance
- $8.5 million in Small Business Administration loans
- Nearly 200 hundred Hoboken families been approved for resettlement grants
- $46,000 for a Hoboken business from the state’s Economic Development Authority
- $2 million in Federal Transit Administration grants
- $142,000 in a state energy resilience grants
- $200,000 in post-Sandy planning assistance grants