From Jessica Coomes in the Glucester County (NJ) Times:
The Obama administration will not distribute economic stimulus funds to shore communities for beach replenishment projects.
U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd Dist., who represents South Jersey's coast, said he is disappointed in the government's decision and argued that maintaining sandy beaches is crucial to his district's economic survival.
"If you don't have beaches, you don't have tourists, and if you don't have tourists, you don't have small businesses," LoBiondo said. . . .
The federal decision comes on the heels of the release of New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine's budget proposal, which would slash state spending on beach replenishment by 25 percent.
"It's a double whammy. It should be funded both federally and in the state," said state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat who represents Cape May and Cumberland counties and part of Atlantic County. "It's about the tourism industry, which in the state of New Jersey is the third-largest industry." . . .
"We are counting on continued beach replenishment," said Joe Kelly, president of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber. "This is something that should not go away. It is an economic issue to us. ... When you talk beach replenishment, you're talking an economic driver. ... Beaches are the cornerstone of travel and tourism in our marketplace."