(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Bruce Land, Bob Andrzejczak and Vince Mazzeo to increase funding allotted to the Shore Protection Fund was approved by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee on Thursday.
The Assembly committee held an off-site joint hearing with the Senate Environment and Energy Committee in Toms River Town Hall. Legislators received testimony on the status of the soil restoration standards required to be adopted and on the status of measures taken to improve the health of Barnegat Bay.
The sole bill on the Assembly committee agenda, A-2954, would increase from $25 million to $50 million the amount that is annually credited to the Shore Protection Fund from the collection of realty transfer fees.
“Our shore line and shore communities have seen multiple, damaging storms in recent years,” said Land (D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland). “Climate change and other environmental factors require us to become more prepared to address their effects along our shore line and that includes making sure the funding is there to do so.”
“New Jersey’s shore line has taken a beating over the last five years as a result of storms such as Sandy,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland). “It is clear that in order to be better prepared in the future we must dedicate more funding for shore protection to remediate, rebuild and protect the shore and its communities.”
“The reality is there are still families in our shore communities still recovering from Superstorm Sandy,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “Raising the amount allotted to the shore protection fund will help towns repair damage, as well as combat erosion from rising sea levels. Increased funding will ensure municipalities access to the funding needed to safeguard our beaches and shore.”
The purpose of the Shore Protection Fund is to protect public and private property and infrastructure from coastal storm damage, erosion and shoreline migration, and sea-level rise. Projects include beach replenishment and construction and maintenance of bulkheads, jetties, and seawalls.
Under the bill, the realty transfer fee imposed on the recording of deeds transferring real property, and is calculated on the basic rate is $1.75 for each $500 of consideration, of which $0.50 is retained by the county and the $1.25 is the state share. Currently, the first $25 million of the state share collected annually is credited to the Shore Protection Fund.
The bill will now go to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.