“New Jersey’s beach resources and shore towns are what make the Jersey shore the unique destination it is, and are the reason thousands of visitors return year after year,” said Governor Christie. “As stewards of the environment, it is incumbent that we take all necessary measures to protect these treasures and to sustain our coastal communities and the diverse economies they support.”
The Jersey shore has its own distinctive culture that reflects the uniqueness of its communities. Manasquan, for instance, is a popular shore getaway because of its mile-long oceanfront and open space areas that include fishing, wildlife sanctuaries and recreation. In contrast, Seaside Heights, with one of the busiest boardwalks along the Jersey coast, is a hub of activity with its amusements, arcades and traditional Jersey shore fare.
Protecting these resources -- from beaches and clean waterways to the diverse shore economy-- is paramount to sustaining the shore’s unique characteristics. That’s why Governor Christie has expressed his strong opposition to off-shore drilling in New Jersey, as well as drilling off the coast of other nearby states that could negatively impact the state’s 130 miles of coastline and multi-billion dollar tourism industry. He has also opposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities off of the New Jersey coast and has also restored beach replenishment funding to its full level.
Equally important, the Governor is committed to ensuring safe and clean water in the Garden State. Just last week, he signed legislation providing $650 million in no-cost and low-cost loans for projects to enhance water quality across New Jersey. In Ocean County alone, there are 18 projects totaling $34.5 million, with two projects for Seaside Park Borough. In Monmouth County, $27 million has been designated for seven water quality improvement projects, including two projects in Manasquan.
Making nearly $157 million available for important open-space acquisition and recreational development projects, Governor Christie also signed Green Acres legislation last week. This funding includes $2.4 million for preservation of open space and development of parks in Monmouth County. In Ocean County, $3 million will go to protect islands, wetlands and uplands in the Barnegat Bay watershed as part of the Governor's 10-point plan for restoring the bay's ecological health. In addition, another $900,000 is designated for park development and recreation opportunities tied to Barnegat Bay and the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.
To get visitors and residents to where they want to go along the Jersey shore, the Administration has been committed to supporting transportation infrastructure projects in the area. Manasquan is receiving $160,000 in assistance to make improvements to Blakey Avenue while Seaside Heights received an assistance grant for $175,000 for sidewalk improvements along the Boulevard. In mid-May, a $3.3 million resurfacing and bridge deck patching project was completed, improving two miles of Route 37 in both directions over the Barnegat Bay in Toms River Township and the Boroughs of Seaside Heights and Seaside Park. In addition, $6.9 million is included in the Fiscal Year 2012 Transportation Capital program to advance the replacement of the Route 37 eastbound Mathis Bridge over the Barnegat Bay.
New Jersey’s tourism industry generated $35.5 billion in total expenditures in 2010, representing an increase of 0.8 percent over 2009. The shore economy is a critical aspect of the state’s overall tourism economy representing 193,000 private sector jobs and over $6 billion in wages and salaries in 2010 across Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth and Ocean counties.
Manasquan and Seaside Heights are stops two and three in a week of visits Governor Christie is making to the Jersey Shore to focus on the health of New Jersey’s beaches, the ocean’s water quality and the vast shore economy these natural resources support.