- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Almost a third of all the federal tax dollars that were sent to New Jersey for Hurricane Sandy cleanup efforts ended up in areas that were barely touched by the storm, a local newspaper investigation found.

The Star-Ledger determined that $47.6 million that was earmarked for new affordable housing projects in areas that were hard hit by the storm actually ended up in inland counties, like Essex and Middlesex. Essex received 16 percent of the money; Middlesex, nearly 14 percent, Breitbart reported.

By contrast, areas on the coastline received significantly less. Ocean County, for instance — where the iconic image of the Seaside Heights’ roller coaster floating in the ocean was taken, post-Sandy days — only received 7.7 percent of federal disbursements.

Anthony Marchetta, executive director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, said in The Star-Ledger that the disbursement of funds was not made for any political reasons, but rather to those shovel-ready project areas that could put the money to immediate use.

That’s why building oftentimes took place at the inland areas of Newark and New Brunswick, he explained, Breitbart reported.

“Based on what I know, I think we did a pretty good job” getting the money disbursed and the homes built, Mr. Marchetta said in the newspaper.

Gov. Chris Christie has already fielded plenty of fire about possible misuse of hurricane funds. CNN reported the federal government had kicked off an audit of Mr. Christie’s use of “Stronger Than the Storm” tourism campaign dollars. And another report a few weeks ago found that nearly $5 million of the hurricane relief money was used to build an apartment complex in New Brunswick, where little to no storm damage was seen.

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