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Belmar, NJ -- Standing on a site of one of the most successful examples of beach replenishment along the Jersey Shore, Woodbridge Mayor Jim McGreevey today said that future beach replenishment projects, as well as the maintenance of past projects, could be jeopardized if President Bush’s proposed budget is approved by the U.S. Congress. McGreevey, who was joined at the press conference by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. and several Jersey Shore mayors, was responding to the President’s budget for the 2002 fiscal year, which changes the funding formula for beach replenishment programs, forcing state and local governments to pay for a larger share of the work.

Under current law, beach replenishment projects that are approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers receive 65 percent of their funding from the federal government and 35 percent from state and local governments. The President’s budget would flip the funding pattern, forcing state and local governments to come up with 65 percent of the funding and the federal government 35 percent.

“New Jersey’s beaches are among our most treasured natural resources,” stated Mr McGreevey. “The Jersey Shore is also one of the most significant sources of the state’s economy, fueling economic activity that is beneficial to all the state’s residents. There are both immediate and long-term benefits in protecting the beaches from literally being washed away.”

McGreevey said the beach replenishment programs also serve as an important safeguard against damaging floods and the potential destruction of homes and community resources by creating a barrier between the ocean and the towns along the shore.

“The beaches are a national resource enjoyed by people from throughout the country so it makes sense to have the federal government play a principal role in their restoration and preservation,” added Mr. McGreevey. “This proposed cost shift will place an overwhelming burden on state and local governments.”

Pallone, Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Coastal Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, responded to the funding shift by circulated a letter with other congressional members urging President Bush reconsider his budget proposal.

“We urge you to rescind the cost-share directive from Corps headquarters and to work with us to develop policies that will enhance the role of the federal government as a partner with states and localities in restoring America’s coastlines,” Pallone and his colleagues wrote in their letter to the president.

Pallone said that the caucus and others plan to fight this proposal as they have fought similar proposals made under past administrations. Pallone said he plans to send the letter to the President at the beginning of next week.

March 30, 2001
Rich McGrath 732-404-0477


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