Bay Head oceanfront owners raise new concerns about dune project
New Jersey's Transportation Trust Fund crisis is giving more ammo to the Bay Head Oceanfront Property Owners Organization, which has been fighting the state's post-Sandy storm protection plan.
Thom Ammirato, the organization's spokesman, contended a lack of details on exactly how and where funding will come from for the dune project and future replenishment, are fueling concerns by Bay Head residents who have been paying for their own beach protection since 1882.
"If the state is making promises that they're going to provide protection, they ought to at least tell you how they're going to pay for it," said Ammirato.
Oceanfront property owners don't want a dune built in front of Bay Head's existing rock revetment, according to Ammirato.
"Since Hurricane Sandy that revetment has been lengthened both on the northern side and on the southern side, again with private money, not 10 cents of taxpayer dollars," noted Ammirato.
Ammirato stressed Bay Head oceanfront homeowners don't want to have to depend on the state to come up with money to protect their properties.
"The current problem with the transportation crisis shows why," Ammirato said. "We're coming to the end of Christie's term, and I'm not sure how many members of the the Legislature are aware of what their future commitment may be for beach protection," said Ammirato.
A spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection contended the claims made by Ammirato are unfounded, since the two issues are completely separate, adding the state and the Army Corps of Engineers are committed to funding replenishment projects.
Ammirato pointed out that federal funding for continual beach replenishment is not guaranteed, and cited Florida as an example of where taxpayers were shouldering most of the cost, followed by the state and federal government.