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Senator Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May and Cumberland, speaks about legislation during a meeting of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

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 Transportation Committee.

 “The Garden State Parkway is a major roadway in South Jersey, yet meetings on projects in our area are consistently held clear across the state. This limits our residents’ ability to provide input on major issues that affect the region,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic). “Making board meetings more accessible to those living in the southern part of the state will better ensure that local concerns are heard before decisions are made on regional projects. It will also help ensure our toll dollars are spent wisely and in the best interest of our residents.”

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 committee approved S1675 by a vote of 5-0. It next heads to the Senate for a vote.