Group turns spotlight on Sandy aid

October 7, 2013 3:39:59 PM PDT
It's estimated that Superstorm Sandy caused $37 billion worth of damage in New Jersey, but the nonprofit, nonpartisan group U.S. Strong says the recovery aid that's been awarded will never cover that.

"$8 billion to $13 billion, that is not going to be covered by state and federal government and we know the best way to stop that from ever happening again is storm preparedness," Curtis Fisher of US Strong said.

U.S. Strong is calling for a federal extreme weather relief and protection fund that would avoid the kind of politics that delayed disaster relief to New Jersey after Sandy for months.

"They can be assured the money is there; they don't have to wait or put themselves at the mercy of some congressman or senator saying I don't think I really have to do this cause it doesn't affect my district," State Senator Robert Singer of Ocean County said.

A report authored by U.S. Strong argues that too many storm victims are facing financial ruin because they can't get through the red tape of FEMA and insurance claims or that their losses just aren't covered.

"So they have to pay their mortgage, insurance, and taxes on third damaged house while they are paying rent and utilities," Faith Liguori of Seaside Park said.

"My car lost is probably about $30,000 to $40,000. Three cars were lost, most were new," Tom Fote of Toms River said.

The group says all kinds of revenue streams should be looked at including taxing businesses responsible for carbon emissions accelerating climate change.

It says extreme weather is the new normal and there has to be a quicker, more reliable way to get relief to those who need it.