Christie: Sandy price tag $37B

TRENTON - Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday raised the estimate of New Jersey's costs of recovering and rebuilding from Superstorm Sandy to nearly $37 billion and said that the state would seek federal aid to cover most of the expenses.

Christie announced the revised total Wednesday to include $7.4 billion to cover mitigation, protection and prevention of future disasters. A preliminary total of $29.4 billion announced last week covers repairs and response. The total amount is greater than the state's entire yearly budget.

Christie named a former U.S. attorney's office colleague, Marc Ferzan, to spearhead the state's recovery and rebuilding efforts. Ferzan, who is leaving the private sector to rejoin government, will be paid a Cabinet-level salary of $141,000.

Christie said that more than 30,000 homes and businesses were destroyed or sustained structural damage during Sandy and that 42,000 buildings sustained lesser damage from the Oct. 30 storm. He said that FEMA has distributed more than $500 million in aid so far; 230,000 New Jerseyans have registered for federal assistance.