New Jersey Turnpike Authority could soon study money-making options

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Thursday, October 11, 2012

Rest areas along the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway could soon get a makeover in an effort to boost money making opportunities for the state. Truckers could be affected by two more bills.

The Assembly Transportation Committee voted to advance a bill to allow the Turnpike Authority to study possible methods to increase current revenue and generate new revenue without raising taxes.

Assemblyman Craig Coughlin said the state must look for creative ways to boost revenue without burdening taxpayers.

“Our current transportation infrastructure demands that we think outside the box to find new revenue sources to help meet our long-term needs,” Coughlin said in a statement.

The bill – A1279 – would authorize the Turnpike Authority to look into opportunities to provide additional services, including business, commercial or retail services, at rest areas and service plazas along the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.

The report would identify the types of services that may be offered, the types of businesses that may be involved, how the services may be managed, and the role of the authority in offering these services.

The agency would be responsible for preparing a report within six months to submit to the General Assembly and the governor. It would then be up to lawmakers to decide whether to pursue any of the options presented.

A1279 awaits further consideration on the Assembly floor. An identical Senate bill – S896 – is on the Senate floor.

Truckers are the subject of two more bills up for consideration in the Assembly Transportation Committee.

The first bill would exempt certain applicants for commercial driver’s licenses from fingerprinting and criminal history background checks.

Applicants for CDLs with hazmat endorsements now are required to undergo scrutiny.

Sponsored by Assemblyman Daniel Benson, D-Hamilton Square, A2833 specifies that anyone applying for, or renewing, a CDL would not have to undergo fingerprinting and a background check more than once within 365 days.

One more bill – A3194 – would authorize the suspension of truck registration if the owner, driver or operator of the vehicle has failed to pay fines or penalties for motor vehicle violations.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Jersey, click here.

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