SENATE APPROVES VAN DREW BILL TO PROVIDE SOUTH JERSEY WITH STRONGER VOICE IN TURNPIKE AUTHORITY DECISIONS

Senator VanDrew

Would Require Three Meetings Each Year Be Held in South Jersey

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew aimed at providing South Jersey with a stronger voice in decisions made by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which operates the Garden State Parkway – a main artery in the southern part of the state – was approved today by the Senate.

 “The Garden State Parkway is a major roadway in South Jersey, but unfortunately meetings are held clear across the state. This limits our residents’ ability to weigh in on projects that are being undertaken in our area and their ability to provide input on transportation issues that affect them locally,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic). “Requiring that board meetings be held locally will provide improved access to residents in our region, who will have the ability to air any concerns they have before decisions are made on regional projects. I expect that it will mean additional transparency and, in my experience, that often leads to a more efficient use of public dollars.”

The bill (S-1675) would improve local public access to New Jersey Turnpike Authority meetings by requiring that at least two regular monthly meetings each year be held in Atlantic, Cape May or Ocean counties. Under the bill, meetings held locally would rotate among the three counties. The bill would also require that one meeting each year be held in the area comprising Salem, Gloucester, and Camden counties, and that the meetings rotate among the counties, and one meeting be held in Bergen County. Under the current structure, meetings are held on a monthly basis in Woodbridge, Middlesex County.

The senator is also the sponsor of a bill (S-1674) that would require representation on the Turnpike Authority board by all regions of the state, including that at least one of the seven appointed members be from the counties of Ocean, Atlantic or Cape May.

The Senate approved S-1675 by a vote of 38-1. It next heads to the Assembly for consideration.