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New Jersey News

NJ After Sandy: To Rebuild or To Re-Design?

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New Jersey is now going about the painstaking task of assessing the damage done by Sandy and determining what can be replaced and what is lost forever.   A spokesman for Governor Christie confirms that the Governor expects to have a preliminary dollar estimate Friday of the damage wrought by Sandy.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney says Sandy is forcing Trenton to re-evaluate  everything from  land use policies to upgrading  the state's power grid.
The state  can't afford to ignore the growing severity of the storms and the prolonged power outages they bring, Sweeney said.
"I am 53 years old and we are getting hit by storms   I never saw in my whole life until just recently--tornadoes. it is just different. We just can't rebuild the way we have always re-built," Sweeney said. 
 Sweeney says  one critical need he's already identified is  back up generator capacity  for schools, hospitals, kidney dialysis  centers and high rise senior citizen housing.

New Jersey's prolonged power outage post Sandy has  raised serious issues about the age of the state's power grid.

State Senator Ray Lesniak  chairs the committee with oversight over the state's utilities. He says  both the state's power companies  and the state Board of Public Utilities have to make  storm proofing the power grid a top priority.
"But the overall problem is just generally, it is a system  that was built 100 years ago and we haven't invested in its upgrade either in bricks and mortar  or in technology," Lesniak said.
Lesniak said he believed  consumers would be willing to pay higher electricity rates for a more reliable power supply.

Sandy's unprecedented  80 to 90 mile per hour tropical force winds snapped more than 5,600 utility poles  and destroyed 2,200 transformers state wide. The accompanying storm surge knocked out critical  substations, some of which were actually built in the flood plain.

The Legislature  is planning to hold public hearings all around the state  with the first one scheduled for November 26th in Toms River, N.J., a hard hit area of Ocean County.