Changes at New Jersey rest areas one step closer to reality

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 12/4/2012

A bill that could boost money-making opportunities along the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway is halfway through the statehouse.

The Assembly voted unanimously to advance a bill to allow the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to study possible methods to increase current revenue and generate new revenue without raising taxes. The bill, A1279, now moves to the Senate for further consideration before it could advance to the governor.

Supporters say the state must look for creative ways to capitalize on the state’s major highways to generate new revenue without raising taxes.

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

The bill 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 could be offered, the types of businesses that could be involved, how the services could be managed, and the role of the authority in offering these services.

The agency would be responsible for preparing a report within one year 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.

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