NBC10 - Tim Furlong
NBC10's Tim Furlong is live in Seaside Heights, N.J. where he tests his chops as he prepares for the band Fun. and Gov. Chris Christie joining NBC's "Today Show."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says that 80 percent of his state's shore will look the same this year as it did last year despite being walloped by Superstorm Sandy.
Christie has been spending the week as promoter-in-chief with a series of events designed to boost tourism ahead of Memorial Day weekend, but he got a national platform Friday when he appeared on NBC's Today.
Christie says that businesses are reopening, but tough decisions remain ahead for owners of homes that were devastated.
Christie also says he'll welcome President Barack Obama, who's scheduled to visit the shore next week. Christie was criticized by some fellow Republicans last year for working so closely with Obama just before the president was re-elected.
The show was broadcast from Seaside Heights, where the storm swept a roller coaster into the ocean, making for one of the superstorm's iconic images.
The roller coaster was taken away this month, but Casino Pier, the seaside amusement park where it used to sit, plans to have 18 rides open this summer.
Up and down the coast, some boardwalks have been rebuilt -- though not the one here -- and beaches are open, though many of them are narrower this year. South Jersey resorts such as Ocean City and the Wildwoods had relatively little damage.
When the storm hit in October, New Jersey sustained an estimated $37 billion worth of damage, with 360,000 houses and apartment units damaged.
Boosting the shore is important to New Jersey because tourism brings in more than $35 billion per year.
But some Democrats are complaining that Christie, a Republican, is promoting the shore as a way to promote himself as he seeks re-election this year against State Sen. Barbara Buono. They take aim especially at a $25 million federally funded ad campaign for the shore. Christie and his family appear in a TV commercial as part of the campaign. He has said that not being in the ad because of fears of political criticism would have been a mistake.