Belmar, New Jersey (CNN) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday again defended his administration’s response to Superstorm Sandy, saying the state was “not sitting on any” aid money.
Christie ventured to a shore community hit by the historic 2012 storm that ravaged parts of the state’s vaunted coast, but he faced little heat at the town hall event in Belmar, his 116th overall since first taking office.
Still, the issue of storm aid has been one area of controversy for Christie, who was reelected overwhelmingly in November and is contemplating a 2016 Republican presidential run.
There are complaints the state has mismanaged billions in federal storm relief funds.
There also has been a claim from Hoboken’s mayor that the Christie administration withheld Sandy funds from her town until she backed a redevelopment project supported by Christie. State officials deny the claim.
Responding to one homeowner who expressed frustration with the length of time it has taken to receive grant money for rebuilding, Christie said his administration is "not sitting on any money" for Sandy efforts.
"In fact, we're waiting for the next tranche of (federal) money and all of the money for the rebuilding program has already been allocated," he said.
More than half of the next $1.4 billion in federal funds will go to helping people get back into their homes, and help about 3,000 families currently on a waiting list for funding.
Before a friendly crowd in Belmar, Christie embraced a narrative he continues to hone that any issue with the storm’s recovery is a lesson in what can happen when government gets too big, and he’s referring to the federal government led by Democratic President Barack Obama.
"The bigger that monster gets the more impossible it is to manage and the harder it is to get it to be responsive to the people who pay the bills," he said. "You need to know this is the danger of an ever-expanding federal government."
Christie said he met Friday with federal Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan, who President Barack Obama put in charge of Sandy rebuilding, about recovery efforts. Christie said Donovan told him that the money that has been delivered to Sandy victims faster than any other disaster in history.
Separately, Christie also said there is a new advertising campaign in the works to keep tourists, coming to the Jersey Shore this summer.
The inspector general from Donovan’s agency is looking at whether Christie improperly used Sandy marketing money approved by the federal government to produce tourism ads that starred him and his family. Tourism is a huge source of revenue for the state.
Christie says he spends most of his time on issues related to Sandy. But much of the conversation politically surrounds a scandal involving suggestions top state appointees orchestrated traffic jams near the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee last year to punish that town’s mayor for not endorsing the governor for reelection.
Christie has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but a handful of top officials have been swept up in the scandal, which is being investigated by a state legislative committee and the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The issue did not come up at the town hall event in Belmar.
On Monday, reports surfaced that attorneys hired by Christie’s office to conduct an internal review of the bridge scandal found no evidence linking the governor to “plotting or directing” the traffic gridlock.
CNN’s Ashley Killough contributed to this report.