Office of the Governor
DiFrancesco Urges President Bush to
Maintain Federal Beach Replenishment Program
Also Requests Federal Funding for Light Rail and Dredging Projects
Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco urged President George W. Bush to maintain federal funding of beach restoration programs at the current 65 to 35 federal-to-state funding ratio. In urging that the current cost agreement be maintained, DiFrancesco made it clear that New Jersey relies on its clean beaches for tourism dollars, as well as for the overall recreational needs and beauty of the State.
"New Jersey's economy depends on the health and beauty of our beaches. Beach tourism is our second largest industry during the summer months. And, we have worked very hard over the last several decades to bring our shore back to a thriving recreational center for all to enjoy. It is critical that our state is able to maintain this progress and continue to build on it," DiFrancesco stated in a letter to President Bush.
DiFrancesco warned that if the federal share were reduced, coastal states like New Jersey would suffer.
The Acting Governor also used this opportunity to request $151 million for the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) and $20 million for Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link (NERL), as well as funding for four navigation and channel deepening projects in the Port of New York and New Jersey.
"As the most densely populated state in the union with severe automobile traffic, New Jersey needs these important projects to reduce congestion, improve air quality and continue economic development," urged DiFrancesco.
The HBLR opened in 2000 and received the American Public Transportation Association's Innovation Award for project management. When complete, the HBLR will provide increased mobility throughout the sixth most densely populated county in the nation, as well as greater integration of commuter rail, ferry and subway services in the region.
The one-mile extension of the existing Newark City Subway will link two commuter rail stations in Newark, resulting in increased intermodal transit capabilities and increased access to the revitalization efforts of the City.
For the channel projects, DiFrancesco wrote the President: "In order to stay competitive in the world marketplace and meet the future needs of the North Eastern United States, it is critical that Congress fully fund the Port of New York and New Jersey navigation and channel deepening projects."
The Acting Governor requested $44 million for the Kill Van Kull Channel, $22 million for the Port Jersey Channel, $18 million for the Arthur Kill Channel, and $8 million for harbor deepening. The Port of New York and New Jersey is the nation's third largest port serving more than 30 percent of the American population while pouring $20 billion into the local economy and employing more than 166,000 local workers.