New Jersey would reclassify its boardwalks as roads so that they would be eligible for the state’s gas tax money in order to finance those repairs and upgrades, under a plan floated Tuesday by legislative leadership.
The measure was aimed primarily at Wildwood’s famed boardwalk, which spans 38 blocks and is in dire need of repairs and upkeep. Gov. Phil Murphy nixed a measure this summer allocating $4 million annually for 15 years to finance that work on the South Jersey boardwalk.
The state’s Transportation Trust Fund is $2 billion a year and finances infrastructure projects across the state including roads and bridges paid for by the state’s gas tax.
Tuesday’s measure, unveiled by top lawmakers at a press conference underneath the Wildwood Boardwalk – at the far end of South Jersey – would set aside $40 million for the repairs – $4 million annually over 10 years.
“When these boardwalks get damaged or fall into disrepair, we all pay a price,” Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District and South Jersey Democrat, said in a prepared statement.
Sweeney continued: “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.”
“This funding is a crucial investment in one of New Jersey’s top tourism-related economic generators,” said Sen. Bob Andrzejczak, D-1st District, who represents Wildwood. “The Wildwood Boardwalk is a 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.”