Christie: Jersey Shore 80 percent ready for tourists

May 24, 2013 at 2:41 PM

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J., May 24 (UPI) -- The Jersey Shore, which sustained billions of dollars in damage last year from Hurricane Sandy, is 80 percent restored, Gov. Chris Christie said Friday.

Walking the boardwalk with host Matt Lauer, Christie said on NBC's "Today" show recovery from the storm's devastation was "an eight in some places and a four in others" on a scale of 10.

"Here on the boardwalk, people will see it as an eight out of 10 when they start coming here in June, but for a lot of the homeowners of the state, it's going to take the better part of the next year to get them back," Christie said.

More than 80 percent of the businesses in Seaside Heights are open. Christie's television appearance was part of a $25 million advertising campaign to counter the perception among potential tourists that beaches and businesses have yet to recover from the storm.

The boardwalk is intended to showcase how New Jersey has recuperated from the $42 billion in damage caused by Sandy. However, many homes outside of the prime tourist draws are still being rebuilt or demolished, and openings of some beaches have been delayed and food trucks are standing in for damaged restaurants and snack bars.

President Barack Obama will tour the region Tuesday with Christie, The (Bergen, N.J.) Record reported Thursday. The White House said Obama would view the recovery efforts and speak about "expanding economic opportunity for families hit by the storm."

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