New Jersey moves closer to rest area sponsorship

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 3/14/2013

One step closer to passage at the New Jersey statehouse is a bill that could soon result in handing over responsibility of some rest areas around the state.

The Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously to advance a bill to allow private companies to sponsor rest areas and service areas in return for upkeep of the facilities. S2514 next moves to the Senate floor. If approved there, the bill would advance to the Assembly for further consideration.

Authority to reach deals would be given to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, Department of Transportation and South Jersey Transportation Authority.

Sen. Donald Norcross, D-Camden, said that providing opportunities for sponsorships would allow the state to raise funds to cover rest areas maintenance now being paid for by taxpayers.

“This will alleviate the burden on the public for this cost and help ensure that our rest areas remain accessible to travelers and tourists in our state,” Norcross 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.

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 urged 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.

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

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