Shore Protection Fund increase bill advances
A shore-sponsored measure that would double the New Jersey Shore Protection Fund (SPF) to $50,000,000 clears one set of legislative committees, and heads for another, in an uphill swim for a full vote in both houses.
The bill, sponsored by Monmouth Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-13), was approved by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee and the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee, during their August 18 joint meeting in Toms River. Its next stop is the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
Kyrillos sponsored the bill that created the Shore Protection Fund in 1992.
"Boosting the Shore Protection Fund will help us to strengthen our state's $40 billion tourism economy and the half-million New Jersey jobs that depend on it," Kyrillos said in prepared comments.
"It will provide the resources we need to maintain beaches that rival any on the East Coast, and make returning to the Jersey Shore an easy choice for families planning their next vacation."
Bill S-311 would enable shore communities to afford the costs of enhancing storm protections, reducing flood risks, and reinforcing critical infrastructure.
Among the eligible projects are beach replenishment, construction and upkeep of bulkheads, jetties and sea walls, maintenance of exisitng protections, improving public access and use enhancements, and undertakings tied to shore protection, stabilization, restoration and maintenance.
Sandy Hook-based Jersey Shore Partnership, through Executive Director Margo Walsh, has lobbied strenuously and continuously for doubling the SPF, citing the need for sufficient funds to prevent a recurrence of damage such as that left by Superstorm Sandy.
Sierra Club New Jersey, through Director Jeff Tittle, opposes the bill just as ardently, contending that it subsidizes what it considers failed, and environmentally unsound, methods.