August 17, 2023
Many of the boardwalks that line the Jersey Shore's coastline will soon be getting a refresh, thanks to a new fund signed into law by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy this week. The bipartisan Boardwalk Preservation Fund Act makes $100 million in grant money available for the purpose of repairing and improving the boardwalks in the state's many shore communities.
The fund, which draws on federal money made available to the state under Pres. Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan, will distribute grants to New Jersey towns and counties through the Department of Community Affairs. Shore communities have until October 31 to submit grant applications.
In addition to boosting Jersey shore tourism that is only now starting to bounce back after being decimated during the pandemic, the boardwalk preservation fund is intended to fortify aging wooden structures against what Gov. Murphy called "the superstorms of tomorrow" during a bill signing in Atlantic City on Tuesday, the Press of Atlantic City reported. As climate change makes storms more common and volatile, the boardwalks that trace much of the state's shoreline remain especially vulnerable.
In 2021, New Jersey allocated $4 million in state funds for Wildwood to repair its boardwalk after the aging structure was damaged by a major storm a year earlier. Such storms are only expected to become more common in the future.
Just last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updated its Atlantic hurricane season projections, increasing the number of hurricanes and named storms we should expect to see this year. The Atlantic Ocean can now expect to see as many as 21 named storms and 11 hurricanes before the season is over.
The new boardwalk improvement funds are expected to be dispersed sometime next year. The funds must be spent by December 31, 2026.