Free beach access championed in wake of Sandy

MONROE – Senate President Steve Sweeney, (D-3), West Deptford and Sen. Mike Doherty, (R-30), Washington Township – two lawmakers not often on the same page politically – agree on this: Beaches should be free.

Doherty said earlier this month he will submit legislation that would make access to beaches free during the massive rebuilding that will be necessary in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.

Sweeney and Doherty are usually on opposite sides of the political spectrum. But on this issue, they couldn’t be more in agreement.

“Why should I be charged (to get) on a beach I just built,” Sweeney said today at a state Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Monroe.

The Senate president estimated that it will cost some $1.2 billion just to fix up the beaches, and that much of it that will come from taxpayers.

“You shouldn’t be charged to get on them,” Sweeney said of Jersey’s beaches.

Likewise, Doherty has said he thinks it’s unfair to charge people to enjoy something they have already funded through taxes.

“I’ve long believed that the state’s beach tag system unfairly limits access to a public resource which has been the beneficiary of a great deal of state and federal investment,” Doherty said in a statement earlier this month.

“The damage done by Hurricane Sandy simply illustrates this point on an unprecedented scale. The Jersey Shore is a state treasure and an important economic engine, but it is a resource that belongs to all of us and is maintained by the taxes that all of us pay.”

Doherty’s bill was in the process of being drafted earlier this month. 


Free beach access championed in wake of Sandy