Nov 8, 2012
In a letter to President Obama, Cong. Chris Smith (Robbinsville, N.J.) requested an extension of the temporary federal cost share waiver that reimburses communities 100 percent for emergency power restoration and emergency public transportation expenses. An extension would allow communities to focus more quickly and effectively on emergency work and recovery, and remove an obstacle in the rebuilding process.
"The current 10-day deadline is simply not enough, especially when you consider that we already faced another powerful storm with additional outages,"
said Smith, referring to last night’s nor’easter. "Towns are still cleaning up and many lost at least a day under the ridged waiver timeline. I am hopeful that President Obama will allow the federal government to continue this critical, critical waiver past Friday, Nov. 9.
For Hurricane Sandy, President Obama approved an adjustment of the standard federal cost share—from 75 percent to 100 percent—on October 30, 2012 for 10 days. Smith continues surveying the damages in the particularly hard hit areas of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and has heard from many mayors that the current timeline is insufficient to meet their needs.
“I’ve talked to desperate mayors in Ocean and Monmouth counties, including one who still has no working police station, no town hall, no school, no rail service and nearly 1,000 homes in the cold, none of which has working utilities. He and other towns need more time.
"We are already past the one-week mark after the storm, and power remains out for hundreds of thousands of people in many towns
,” Smith said. “It is getting colder by the minute. We need to finish debris removal and emergency power restoration initiatives as soon as possible. Swift approval of this request would allow our community to ensure there is adequate time to plan and implement a full clean up and restoration effort."
Smith’s letter in part read:
"The sheer magnitude of the devastation on infrastructure and public facilities as well as the immense personal toll the storm has taken on our citizens is evident in every municipality up and down the Jersey shore," Smith's letter stated. "First responders and volunteers are working around the clock providing assistance to impacted residents but the damage to these areas is extensive and many efforts have been hampered by the delay in power restoration." Click here to view letter