Monday, September 29, 2014

Senate Passes Supporting Measure Requiring South Jersey Representation on Turnpike Authority

Bipartisan legislation by sponsored by the 9th District Legislative delegation that would require under State law that at least one member of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority be from South Jersey achieved passage by the State Senate.
The measure, S-241, sponsored Senator Christopher J. Connors, would require at least one member of the Turnpike Authority to be a resident of Ocean, Atlantic County, or Cape May County. Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove are prime sponsors of the identical companion measure, A-2787, which is awaiting action by the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.

In an effort to garner additional support on a statewide level, the legislation has been amended over time to require that the Authority have at least one member be a resident of Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, or Salem County; at least one be a resident of Mercer County, Middlesex County, or Monmouth County; and at least one be a resident of Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson County, Union County, or Passaic County. The current members of the Turnpike Authority would not be affected by the legislation if enacted.
The 9th District Delegation issued the following statement subsequent to the passage of S-241 by the Senate:
“This bipartisan legislation was drafted in response to residents who have demanded a greater voice in the decision making process with respect to infrastructure projects in their communities. Understandably, these residents want to ensure that projects, funded largely through the tolls paid by motorists including themselves, move forward with the best interests of the community being served.
“Given that a large segment of the Garden State Parkway runs through South Jersey, it is only practical that the southern end of the state serve on the Turnpike Authority to provide a more local perspective. The case for representation is only strengthened due to the number of projects underway in the southern part of the State.
“As part of this bipartisan effort, we are each sponsors of legislation that would require that at least two regular meetings of the Turnpike Authority be held in the Ocean-Atlantic-Cape May area. The meetings would be rotated among those counties creating more opportunities for local residents to engage in the decision making process involving infrastructure projects in their area.”

The legislation which require Authority meetings be held in South Jersey was passed by the Senate by a vote of 34-1 on June 12 of this year. Both the Senate (S-243) and Assembly (A-2781) companion bills sponsored by the 9th District Delegation are awaiting action by the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.


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