As Summer Travel Season Begins, Van Drew Highlights Need To Address Long-Standing Route 47 Traffic Problem

Tells Governor Resolution ‘Is Vital to the Economic Success of Our Region’

TRENTON – Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic) today sent a letter to Governor Christie requesting the administration work with him to address a long-standing traffic problem on Route 47 in Cape May and Cumberland Counties.

The senator told the governor work on the issue does not have to wait until passage of his legislation that requires a study to determine how best to alleviate congestion on the roadway. He requested the governor direct the commissioners of Transportation and Environmental Protection to begin the study immediately, and vowed to work with them to find a solution.

“Congestion in this area is detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of residents, as miles of cars idling on the highway discharge harmful pollutants and frequent accidents result in dozens of injuries, as well as deaths, each year,” wrote Senator Van Drew. “Moreover, the problem is damaging to the local tourism industry and the viability of our businesses, as it discourages vacationers from visiting our shore resorts.”

“There has to be a way to address this issue without harming the environment,” Van Drew added. “I know it will be challenging and will require thinking outside the box, but I believe we can work together and, finally, after a decade, truly charter a successful solution to this problem.”

The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved legislation (S-1133) yesterday sponsored by Van Drew that would require the commissioners of Transportation and Environmental Protection to prepare a traffic study evaluating the best options for alleviating traffic congestion on Route 47 in Cumberland and Cape May Counties and in the surrounding region. The bill would require a written report be submitted to the Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee and the Chair of the Assembly Transportation Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee, or their successor committees, within a year.

Senator Van Drew’s letter is below.

May 28, 2010

The Honorable Christopher J. Christie

Governor

State of New Jersey

State House

Trenton, NJ 08625

Dear Governor Christie,

As we begin the summer travel season, residents in my district and tourists in the region will once again experience hours-long traffic delays that occur annually as people make their way to our shore.

Heavy congestion on State Route 47, a main artery in Cape May County, is a problem that has plagued our region for years, but has remained unsolved because of environmental and other concerns.

Yesterday, the Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved legislation (S-1133) that calls for the commissioners of Transportation and Environmental Protection to prepare a traffic study evaluating the best options for alleviating congestion in this area and to report back to the Legislature within one year.

We already know from past studies the solution is completing State Route 55 and connecting it to the Garden State Parkway. But we must find a way to do it safely and in a manner that is environmentally sound.

I have every expectation my bill will make it to your desk shortly, however, we do not have to wait for legislative action to begin work. I respectfully request that you direct Commissioners Simpson and Martin to immediately undertake this study.

Congestion in this area is detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of residents, as miles of cars idling on the highway discharge harmful pollutants, and frequent accidents result in dozens of injuries, as well as deaths, each year. Moreover, it is damaging to the local tourism industry and the viability of our businesses, as it discourages vacationers from visiting our shore resorts.

There has to be a way to address this issue without harming the environment. I know it will be challenging and will require thinking outside the box, but I believe we can work together and, finally, after a decade, truly charter a successful solution to this problem.

I look forward to working with you and Commissioners Simpson and Martin on this issue, which is vital to the economic success of our region and our state.

Sincerely,

Jeff Van Drew

Senator, 1st District