TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) to grant state authority to Delaware River Port Authority police officers to inspect hazardous materials cargo and containers, power currently held by DRPA officers in Pennsylvania and certain officers in New Jersey, was approved today by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
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 should be provided the tools they need to perform their jobs effectively and in a manner that will ensure the safety of our residents. Conducting inspections of cargo and containers carried by vehicles traveling on our bridges is an essential part of doing that, as it will allow officers to ensure that hazardous materials are shipped properly and securely when entering the state,” said Senator Norcross, chair of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
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 committee approved the bill by a vote of 3-0-2. It now heads to the full Senate for a vote.