By Representative Jon Runyan
On Oct. 29, Hurricane Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, devastating the New Jersey coastline and thousands of people along the East Coast. This storm has resulted in billions of dollars of damage, forced thousands of New Jerseyans out of their homes and unfortunately caused multiple deaths.
Gov. Chris Christie, who is leading our state through the aftermath of the unprecedented Superstorm Sandy, recently announced that the damage to New Jersey alone would top $36 billion.
The federal, state and local governments have a long-held partnership in helping communities recover and rebuild following natural disasters. Many families affected by the storm have seen this partnership at work in the days after the storm as they conducted rescue and recovery efforts, and worked around the clock to get supplies, food and water to those in need.
Indeed, as the assessment of the damage continues, this strong partnership will be more important than ever. The relationship will be critical to our efforts to rebuild the homes, businesses and infrastructure that will allow our towns to flourish once again.
During my first term in Congress, I remained steadfastly focused on the assets located in South Jersey and advocated for federal dollars that would support them. These assets are proving to be critical to our post-Sandy recovery. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I have advocated for millions of dollars for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, which is currently playing a key role in storm recovery efforts. Much of the federal response for post-Sandy recovery in New Jersey and New York is being coordinated out of JBMDL. This critical installation is also being used as the staging area for Army Reserve units being utilized in the recovery, and is serving as the hub for distributing food, supplies, and fuel.
In addition, I have been a strong proponent of much-needed funding for beach replenishment and other flood control projects. After superstorm Sandy, I saw firsthand how important these projects are to protecting the homes, businesses and infrastructure in coastal communities.
According to the Army Corps of Engineers, for every tax dollar spent investing in beach and flood control projects, we save seven dollars of taxpayers' money in post storm recovery costs. This is why I led a majority of the New Jersey delegation in sending a letter to President Obama requesting that all previously authorized Army Corps projects be fully funded and completed.
Indeed, the New Jersey congressional delegation is working together in a bipartisan way to ensure that our state receives the federal support it needs to recover and rebuild. New Jersey has some of the best and brightest Americans and workers and Hurricane Sandy has proven this to the entire country. There is so much work that must be done and New Jersey cannot do it alone.
I will continue to work with Christie, the entire New Jersey delegation and the president to ensure that New Jersey has access to all the funds needed to rebuild.