Sen. Doherty: Tie Taxpayer Shore Restoration Funding To Free Beach Access
This afternoon New Jersey State Senator Mike Doherty (R-Warren/Hunterdon/Somerset) unveiled a proposal that would eliminate the beach access fees currently charged in most shore communities during the summer season. The fees have been a source of feuding, contention, and frustration for years, if not decades; pitting beach community governments against the millions of tourists who come to visit from inside and outside of New Jersey.
Our beaches are among the greatest natural treasures we have in New Jersey. Access to enjoy them has been the subject of many lawsuits and political fights over the years.
With the tremendous devastation that Hurricane Sandy has caused, there is no question that there will be an enormous amount of both State and Federal resources needed and utilized to rebuild many of those communities. Senator Doherty is preparing legislation that will tie a community’s use of State and Federal money to those community’s providing free beach access and restrooms to the public. His proposal certainly seems reasonable.
You can read his press release below.
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Senator Mike Doherty
Senator Michael J. Doherty (R- Warren/Hunterdon/Somerset) intends to submit legislation that will require any shore communities accepting state or federal funding for rebuilding and restoration purposes to provide the general public with free beach access, and restroom facilities free of charge. His proposal will ensure that all taxpayers enjoy the fruits of public funds spent to restore shore communities damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
“Public dollars must be spent for the maximum benefit of all citizens,” said Doherty. “I do not dispute that our shoreline must be rebuilt or that the communities impacted need assistance, but the state and federal funds that will be used to rebuild come from everyone, not just those who live or own property at the shore.”
Doherty said that beach access fees are an unfair barrier to all citizens enjoying the public resources they pay to maintain and restore.
“I’ve long believed that the state’s beach tag system unfairly limits access to a public resource which has been the beneficiary of a great deal of state and federal investment,” Doherty continued. “The damage done by Hurricane Sandy simply illustrates this point on an unprecedented scale. The Jersey Shore is a state treasure and an important economic engine, but it is a resource that belongs to all of us and is maintained by the taxes that all of us pay.”
Senator Doherty’s legislation is in the process of being drafted.