Christie Seeks Federal Aid on $82M Snowstorm

TRENTON (AP) -

Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday asked for federal disaster aid to help New Jersey pay for last month’s blizzard.

The Republican governor said in a letter to President Barack Obama that the state had incurred at least $82 million in costs from 30 inches of snow that fell in some areas, power outages and coastal flooding.

The request followed his decision Wednesday to end his presidential bid; Christie performed poorly in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.

In the letter to Obama, the governor asked for disaster declarations for 17 of the state’s 21 counties. The storm broke snow records in six counties, stretching local budgets. Nearly 300,000 customers lost power.

Christie said that because of beach erosion, destroyed dunes and weakened barriers, some coastal areas are at risk of further flooding if another storm blows through.

He said last month’s storm was of “such severity and magnitude that an effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected county and local governments.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will evaluate Christie’s request and make a recommendation to the president. In New Jersey, at least $12 million in damages must accumulate before the state can qualify for federal assistance, well below Christie’s estimate.