, Land Line state legislative editor | Monday, January 21, 2013
A New Jersey bill could soon result in handing over responsibility of some rest areas around the state.
The Assembly Transportation Committee voted to advance a bill to allow private companies to sponsor rest areas and service areas in return for upkeep of the facilities. The authority to reach deals would be given to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, Department of Transportation and South Jersey Transportation Authority.
“Offering sponsorship is an opportunity that would help business and industry in the state as well as relieve a burden on taxpayers,” Assemblyman Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, said in a news release.
In return for sponsorship, the state would post “acknowledgement signs” along the turnpike, Garden State Parkway and other state-owned highways.
Assemblywoman Celeste Riley, D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem, said the state must look for creative ways to capitalize on the state’s major highways to generate new revenue without raising taxes.
“In this economy, every little bit we save would make a big difference in the long run,” Riley stated.
The agencies would be responsible for setting the terms for sponsorship agreements.
Since the new two-year highway bill was signed in July 2012, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been urging DOT offices around the country to make truck parking a top priority and create more parking spaces, instead of spending money to study the problem.
OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said it is encouraging to see states like New Jersey take steps to improve the parking situation.
“If these efforts will end up increasing, or at least maintaining, parking for trucks they certainly should be encouraged,” he said.
The bill – A3461 – awaits further consideration on the Assembly floor. If approved there, it would advance to the Senate.
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