Would Require Three Meetings Each Year Be Held in South Jersey
TRENTON – Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew and Senator Chris Connors 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, 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-243) 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 one meeting be held in BergenCounty. Under the current structure, meetings are held on a monthly basis in Woodbridge, MiddlesexCounty.
“This legislative initiative represents a bipartisan collaborative effort that we have undertaken in order to provide the people of South Jersey with a greater voice in Turnpike Authority projects on the Garden State Parkway,” said Senator Connors (R-Atlantic/Burlington/Ocean). Residents of these South Jersey counties pay tolls on a regular basis and, therefore, should be able to participate in the Authority’s meetings especially when considering the scale, scope and costs of transportation projects which are under way or in the works.”
The senators are also the sponsor of a bill (S-241) 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 bill was recently approved by the Senate Transportation Committee.
The Senate approved S243 by a vote of 34-1. It now heads to the Assembly for a vote.