Biden tours several storm-damaged cities in NJ

FILE - In this March 21, 2012 file photo, Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Mellon Auditorium in Washington. Biden on Sunday, May 6, 2012 said he's "absolutely comfortable" with gay couples who marry getting the same civil rights and liberties as heterosexual couples, a stand that gay rights advocates interpreted as an endorsement of same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

November 20, 2012 11:30:51 AM PST
Vice President Joe Biden spent the better part of Sunday visiting storm-wrecked parts of New Jersey and reassuring residents that the federal government won't abandon them after Superstorm Sandy.

Biden, a Scranton, Pa., native who spent summers at the Jersey shore as a boy, stopped on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights to say he's "a homeboy" who understands the need to rebuild the shore. Later, at the Hoboken Terminal, Biden said the superstorm brought with the devastation an opportunity to rebuild public transit infrastructure that's strong enough to withstand the challenges of the next century.

"We're going to come back better," he said at the Hoboken PATH station, which remains out of service since the storm flooded it. "But it's going to take time."

Biden, who also flew along the coastline surveying damages from Belmar to Island Beach State Park, is the latest White House official to tour the storm wreckage. President Barack Obama was in Atlantic City the week of the storm and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napoloitano made her second visit to the state Friday.

He told residents that the shore to the eastern U.S. is like the Grand Canyon in the western region - a precious resource that needs to be protected. Biden said he and Obama are committed to helping the state rebuild.

Gov. Chris Christie hasn't yet given a preliminary damage assessment.