Critically needed repairs and upgrades to the Wildwood Boardwalk could be made by a funding plan developed by Senator Bob Andrzejczak, Assemblyman Bruce Land and Assemblyman Matt Milam, and supported by Senate President Steve Sweeney, that would allocate funding for crucial infrastructure repairs to the Wildwoods’ Boardwalk.
The legislators announced the innovative funding plan following a tour of the iconic boardwalk, where they got a firsthand view of deteriorating conditions of the walkway that serves as the backbone of the region’s tourism sector.
“This funding is a crucial investment in one of New Jersey’s top tourism-related economic generators,” said Senator Andrzejczak (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). “The Wildwood Boardwalk is an historic attraction that serves as the backbone of the community and the region. It is a prime attraction that supports economic activity and the quality of life for residents and visitors.”
The funding, $40 million over ten years, would replace the support lost when Governor Phil Murphy vetoed Senator Andrzejczak’s bill that would have allocated $4 million annually for 15 years. The Governor also removed from the state budget emergency funding of $4 million for the work.
The new legislation would make use of the state Transportation Trust Fund for the needed money, revising the fund’s aid formula to include boardwalk mileage and allocating $4 million per year for 10 years from the TTF Local Aid Infrastructure Fund. The funding will be used for boardwalk maintenance, reconstruction, repair and construction.
“Maintaining the boardwalks is a crucial part of our commitment to the quality of life and economic vitality of the Wildwood community and the entire region,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “When these boardwalks get damaged or fall into disrepair, we all pay a price. We’ve developed a funding mechanism to repair and improve the boardwalk so that businesses stay open, workers remain employed and the tourism sector that is so important to New Jersey continues to thrive.”
In 2019, 10 million people visited Cape May County, where 26,500 of its jobs were directly linked to tourism. These jobs constitute 43 percent of the county’s workforce, the highest percentage linked to tourism of any county in the state. The county generates more tourism revenue from state and local taxes – $555 million in 2018 – than any in the state, besides Atlantic County.
“The Wildwood boardwalk is a beloved staple of the Jersey Shore,” said Assemblyman Bruce Land (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). “It’s a place where families make memories that will last a lifetime. Investing in the boardwalk will make it even more attractive to visitors, which will inevitably be good for business and overall tourism.”
“In 2015 alone, Wildwood businesses brought in $33 million in state and local taxes. It’s time for us to reinvest some of those tax dollars back into the community,” said Assemblyman Matt Milam (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). “Taking steps to reconstruct the boardwalk will enhance Wildwood’s offerings for residents and tourists alike. This support will help secure Wildwood’s place as a premier tourist destination for future generations.”
Wildwoods’ award-winning Boardwalk features 38 blocks of stores, shops, water parks, eateries, live entertainment and amusement piers with over 100 rides and attractions.