New Jersey rest areas could soon be in line for new money

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 6/24/2013

New Jersey could soon get an influx of cash to keep rest areas up and running without resorting to dipping into taxpayers’ pockets to foot the bill.

The New Jersey Senate voted unanimously to advance a bill to Gov. Chris Christie that would authorize corporate sponsorship on rest areas along the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and other state-owned highways. Assembly lawmakers already approved A3461 by unanimous consent.

Deals could also be reached on other “highway-related services or programs.”

Authority to reach deals would be given to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, Department of Transportation and South Jersey Transportation Authority. Revenue raised from sponsorships would be used to help with road work.

In exchange for footing the bill to help keep facilities up and running, companies would get “acknowledgment signs” thanking them for the money.

Supporters say the bill would alleviate costs to taxpayers.

“Covering the cost for upkeep of state highway rest areas and other services may be minimal in ways, but it is money that can add up over time,” Assemblywoman Celeste Riley, D-Cumberland, stated in a news release. “In this economy, every little bit we save would make a big difference in the long run.”

Also headed to the governor’s desk is a bill that would search for ways to use the state’s major highways to raise new revenue.

Assemblyman Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, said that lawmakers must look for creative ways to boost revenue.

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

A1279 would direct the Turnpike Authority to study and report on additional services that could be offered to make money long highways. Services could include business, commercial or retail at rest areas along the Turnpike and Parkway.

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

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