NJ Senator Wants More Money For Cleanup [AUDIO]
Jersey U.S. Senator Bob Menendez is pressing fellow federal lawmakers for Superstorm Sandy relief money for Jersey.
During an appearance before a Transportation Subcommittee on Capital Hill, Menendez told members of the panel, "I've lived in New Jersey my whole life, and I have never seen the scope of devastation that the state has faced after Superstorm Sandy - there are many dimensions of damage from the storm -- we lost 34 lives during the storm,
it was the largest mass transit disaster in our nation's history - in our nation's history - 4 out of 10 of the nation's transit riders - have their commutes disrupted by the storm."
He said, "New Jersey Transit alone had dozens of locomotives and rail cars damaged in the flooding- miles and miles of tracks damaged- the preliminary damage estimate provided by the state is now up to 37 billion dollars."
Menendez also pointed out, "The port of New York and New Jersey, which really most of it is on the New Jersey side, is the mega Port of the East Coast. It's a quarter of a million jobs - 25 to 30 billion dollars of economic activity for the nation - suffered widespread damage - ships were unloading during the course of the storm, but a full recovery from the damage caused by the storm is going to take much longer."
He said at the Port, "the storm surge grew to 14 feet, winds were 90 miles an hour - more than 700 cargo containers were damaged - when the surge and high winds toppled the containers onto one another…half of a Port Authority barge was lifted onto a berth in Red Hook, in Jersey City a float was used to move railway cars broke in half, and created significant damage, and 150 feet of railroad track was washed away, cargo handling cranes and other pieces of equipment were severely damaged."
Menendez also pointed out this is also important to national security issues because the Port the military had been using in Bayonne New Jersey was recently closed, "and so the use of a commercial port for forward projection from the East Coast is the Port of New York and New Jersey."
In addition he said, "The trucking industry lost about a thousand rigs to flooding at the Port and other locations where they were parked:06 which is about 25 percent of all of the truck fleet that serves the Port region, about 16 thousand cars were destroyed - along with hundreds of motorcycles - a total loss…ships were diverted - that were heading to New York and New Jersey - those ships were carrying over 15 thousand cargo containers and almost 10 thousand automobiles…The sheer scope of the damage is difficult to fathom."
"We've lost thousands of homes - thousands of people are out of their homes - these are year round communities where people have made their lives and their investments and now seen it washed away - they don't have a place to come back home to…That's why it's important to ask our colleagues- as we have stood with the people of the Gulf Coast, and in Florida, the people of Joplin, Missouri after a tornado ravaged their community, when the Mississippi flooded, when crops have been destroyed in the Midwest, we have been there, and since this the United States of America, we need you to be with us."