NJ officials say FEMA is refusing to provide $300 million owed for Sandy aid

New Jersey officials and the Trump administration are battling over hundreds of millions of dollars meant to be used in the state for transit repair following the devastation from Superstorm Sandy six years ago.

NJ.com reports that the state's entire congressional delegation has pressured the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to release nearly $300 million the state has requested for efforts to repair transit systems following the storm, which caused major damage in New Jersey and neighboring New York.


FEMA has repeatedly denied the funds, according to Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezThis week: Senate starts infrastructure sprint Lobbying world This week: Congress starts summer sprint MORE (D-N.J.), who criticized the agency for its "absurd" handling of Sandy relief funds.

“Whether it’s concerted or just individual rifle shots, we’re getting hurt,” Menendez said. “This is another example of something that should be a no-brainer, just like the Gateway Tunnel should be a no-brainer. This is another example of New Jersey being hurt, arbitrarily and capriciously, in this case by FEMA."

Under an agreement with the federal government, New Jersey paid 10 percent of the costs for cleanup from Superstorm Sandy, while the federal government agreed to pay the remaining 90 percent.

Of the $728 million owed by the federal government, $445 million was paid by the Federal Transit Agency, with the understanding that FEMA would pay the rest when that funding ran out. Instead, FEMA suggested that New Jersey use funds already allocated to the state for future disaster preparedness, a proposition the state has refused.

Since then, the federal government and New Jersey officials have locked horns over which entity remains on the hook for the remaining funds, which total about $283 million according to NJ.com.

The agreement, written by Menendez, states that FEMA would pay out the remaining costs to the state. But the senator says FEMA officials are offering changing explanations for why the funds have not been released.

“I wrote the law,” Menendez told NJ.com. “This is pretty outrageous."

FEMA officials told The Hill in a statement that the agency was working with state officials to determine the agency's course of action, and that the state's second request for Sandy relief funds was currently under review.

Sandy, which made landfall in 2012, caused $62 billion worth of damage in the United States, making it the country's fourth-worst storm in recorded history.