NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) today led the entire congressional delegation in calling on President Biden to approve Governor Phil Murphy’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration for all 21 counties. Approval of the request would make the state eligible for more federal resources as areas recover from damage caused by Tropical Storm Ida. The storm caused historic flash flooding, tornadoes and record rainfall, and resulted in the tragic deaths of at least 23 New Jerseyans. 

The state’s mass transit systems also suffered significant damage, which caused service disruptions for residents, commuters and travelers. Flooding at passenger and baggage areas at Newark Liberty International Airport caused flight cancellations and delays, while Teterboro Airport remains closed due to significant flooding on main roads around the facility. Service on NJ Transit remains halted due to downed trees and flooded areas. The lawmakers noted that FEMA Public Assistance is “critical” in order to quickly resume the transit systems that millions of people rely on every day.

The letter was also signed by U.S. Representatives Donald Norcross (N.J.-01), Jeff Van Drew (N.J.-02), Andy Kim (N.J.-03), Chris Smith (N.J.-04), Josh Gottheimer (N.J.-05), Frank Pallone, Jr. (N.J.-06), Tom Malinowksi (N.J.-07), Albio Sires (N.J.-08), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (N.J.-09), Donald Payne, Jr. (N.J.-10), Mikie Sherrill (N.J.-11) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.-12).

Full text of the letter can be found here and below.

Dear President Biden:

Governor Murphy has formally requested a Major Disaster Declaration for all 21 counties in the State of New Jersey in response to Tropical Strom Ida.  We urge you to approve this request to ensure New Jersey has all the resources available to manage this disaster.

Tropical Storm Ida has devastated our state through historic flash flooding, tornadoes, and record rainfalls. Tragically, at least 23 New Jerseyans have lost their lives due to the storm. Tropical Storm Ida poured inches of rain across our state, causing homes, businesses, highways and transit systems to become flooded. The damage from the storm has caused thousands of homes and businesses to remain without power. Flood damage to homes has displaced families, forcing them to seek temporary shelter. FEMA Individual Assistance is necessary to help New Jerseyans with housing and other critical expenses. In addition, highways and roads remain inundated with water, preventing critical recovery efforts.  These extraordinary challenges require high water vehicles to carry out disaster recovery efforts. Leveraging FEMA resources will help our state have the necessary tools to swiftly provide relief to our constituents and recover from Tropical Storm Ida.

Furthermore, our mass transit systems have suffered significant damage, causing service disruptions for our residents and travelers. At Newark Liberty Airport, water flooded passenger and baggage areas, causing a ripple of flight cancellations and delays. Teterboro Airport remains closed due to significant flooding on all main roads around the facility. NJ Transit, our state’s passenger rail network, remains inoperable due to downed trees and flooded areas. FEMA Public Assistance is critical in quickly restoring our state’s infrastructure and essential transit systems.

We urge you to promptly approve Governor Murphy’s request a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of New Jersey. We appreciate your consideration of the request.