Legislation prime-sponsored by Senator Michael Testa and co-sponsored by Senator Vince Polistina that would establish a Boardwalk Preservation Fund to construct, repair, and maintain boardwalks and structures throughout the state's coastal communities was signed into law today.
"Boardwalks are an economic driver for New Jersey tourism and generate millions of dollars in revenue for the state. The signing of this legislation makes a historic investment to improve the infrastructure of these iconic attractions," said Testa (R-1). "The establishment of the Boardwalk Preservation Fund will have a significant return on investment by bolstering tourist appeal and opening additional opportunities for businesses to generate revenue. Most importantly, this fund will help our shore town communities preserve the historical significance of these structures."
Senator Testa's bill, S-3989, establishes the Boardwalk Preservation Fund within the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to award grants to municipalities and counties for the purpose of supporting boardwalk, ancillary, and appurtenant structure projects along the Shore. The bill utilizes American Rescue Plan COVID State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds and appropriates $100 million to the DCA to administer the fund.
Municipalities, counties, or a combination of both who are awarded grants through the DCA Boardwalk Preservation Fund would be required to make a contribution or expenditure no less than five percent of the project's cost. Under the bill, grant applicants who make a contribution or expenditure greater than five % would be given preference by the DCA.
A grant applicant that has one of the highest fifty distress scores on the 2020 Municipal Revitalization Index would not be required to make a contribution or expenditure under the bill.
"With the signing of this bill, we are making a monumental investment into our shore town communities which are the lifeblood of our tourism industry. The Boardwalk Preservation Fund will provide a significant boost to support the long-term economic success of the New Jersey Shore," said Polistina (R-2). "Millions of people travel from all over the world to enjoy our historic boardwalks and beaches. This fund will help our shore towns preserve and maintain these popular tourist destinations by enabling them to construct and make necessary repairs to these critical structures and landscapes."