TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) to grant explicit authority to Delaware River Port Authority police officers to inspect hazardous materials cargo and containers and to take enforcement actions in the event violations of laws and regulations are found, was given final approved today by the full Senate.
The measure (S-1816) is intended to provide Delaware River Port Authority officers in New Jersey the same authority as their counterparts in Pennsylvania. The bill would also provide the officers with inspection and enforcement powers already granted to officers within the New Jersey State Police, the Port Authority of NY/NJ, and certain officials within the state departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection.
“DRPA officers are responsible for ensuring the safety of roadways and bridges that are part of a critical transportation network, and in a post-9/11 world they must be given the full capability to do this effectively,” said Senator Norcross, chair of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. “Affording these officers the power to inspect cargoes and containers entering our state and to enforce penalties associated with violations of the law is essential. It will go a long way to enhance security and to keep our residents safe.”
Senator Norcross noted that the police officers of the DRPA have been trained to perform inspections and are knowledgeable in the federal regulations governing the transportation of hazardous materials.
The Delaware River Port Authority owns and operates four bridges connecting southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania: the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry, and Betsy Ross bridges. Through a subsidiary, the Port Authority Transit Corp., DRPA runs PATCO and also owns the RiverLink Ferry.
The Assembly approved it 52-23-2. The Senate approved the measure by a vote of 29-10. It now heads to the governor’s desk.