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NJ Governor estimates Sandy will cost state at least $29.4 billion

The extensive damage to an amusement park roller coaster in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is seen in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, Novembe
The extensive damage to an amusement park roller coaster in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is seen in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, Novembe

By Chris Francescani

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Superstorm Sandy caused at least $29.4 billion in overall damage in New Jersey, according to a preliminary analysis released by Governor Chris Christie's office Friday.

The estimate of the damage caused by the storm, which ravaged the Northeastern U.S. coastline late last month, includes personal property, business, infrastructure and utility damage, Christie said in a statement.

The statement said the preliminary cost estimate is "inclusive of aid received to date and anticipated from federal sources," including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration. Christie said it was a "conservative and responsible estimate" that could be revised higher, Christie said.

Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he planned to ask the federal government for $30 billion in disaster aid for the state. Earlier this month, New York City Comptroller John Liu said the storm was costing New York City $200 million a day in lost economic activity, with that amount likely to top out at about $1 billion.

"This preliminary number is based on the best available data, field observations and geographical mapping, and supported by expert advice from my Cabinet commissioners and an outside consulting company," Christie said in the statement Friday.

Christie said the estimate will be refined in the future to include impact on the next tourist seasons, real estate values and population shifts.

The record-breaking "superstorm" blasted through eight Northeastern U.S. states on October 30, killing dozens of people, battering coastal neighborhoods and forcing mass evacuations. The storm shut down the entire New York City subway system for days.

(Additional reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Bill Trott)

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