2004-04-30 / Front Page

Weiner: Bush ‘Kicks Sand’ In Rockaway’s Face

By Brian Magoolaghan

Weiner: Bush ‘Kicks Sand’ In Rockaway’s Face

Congressman Anthony Weiner points to a map showing the beach renourishment projects that the Bush budget could nix.Congressman Anthony Weiner points to a map showing the beach renourishment projects that the Bush budget could nix.

By Brian Magoolaghan

Congressman Anthony Weiner compared President Bush to a killer shark last Saturday and said the Chief Executive’s new budget will bite a chunk out of Rockaway’s shoreline in years to come.

Rockaway will lose $10 million in federal funding for beach renourishment through the year 2027, according to a recent study released by Weiner’s office.

"He’s the worst thing to happen to summer since Jaws," said Weiner, who also accused the president of "kicking sand into the face of New York City."

Traditionally, the federal government assumes 65 percent of renourishment costs, leaving the state to fund the rest. The president’s fiscal year 2005 budget breaks that arrangement, eliminates funding for some projects and drastically reduces the federal contribution to others, according to Weiner.

"It’s something we have worried about for a while because some people in congress feel we shouldn’t be in this [beach restoration] business anyway," Weiner said while leaning against the boardwalk railing on Beach 116 Street last Saturday afternoon. "We’re going to have to see if we have the votes to defeat this."

New York could lose almost $156 million to combat the loss of sand from the shorelines in the cut, which crosses county and economic lines. Orchard Beach and Coney Island would be affected; likewise, Long Beach and the more exclusive sands of Fire Island and Shinnecock.

Community Board Chairperson Delores Orr and Belle Harbor Property Owner’s Association President Barbara Larkin said the federal government has an obligation, and must maintain its commitment to what Orr called "an ongoing problem." Orr, Larkin and local environmentalist Mickey Cohen turned out to condemn the cuts.

Weiner said he doubts that the state can afford to fund renourishment on its own, and warned that a lapse could result with waves from winter storms entering the living rooms of local houses. The congressman, a member of the Democratic Party, said New York has to make renourishment cuts a presidential campaign issue.

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