South Jersey one step closer to getting regular turnpike meetings

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Monday, July 21, 2014

A bipartisan effort halfway through the New Jersey Legislature would require the Turnpike Authority to hold regular meetings around the state.

The authority now meets on a monthly basis at their administration offices in Woodbridge, NJ, located in North Jersey. The authority oversees the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway.

The Senate voted 34-1 to advance a bill to the Assembly that would require meetings to be held on a rotating basis in Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties.

Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, said the change would provide affected counties in South Jersey with a greater voice in projects overseen by the Turnpike Authority.

“Making board meetings more accessible to those living in the southern part of the state will better ensure that local concerns are heard before decisions are made on regional projects,” Van Drew said in a news release. “It will also help ensure our toll dollars are spent wisely and in the best interest of our residents.”

The bill would also require at least one regular meeting of the authority be held annually on a rotating basis in the area of Salem, Gloucester and Camden counties. At least one regular meeting each year would also be required in Bergen County.

Sen. Christopher Connors, R-Burlington, said the change takes on greater significance following Hurricane Sandy.

“Local input, including from local officials, takes on even more importance as our state continues to rebuild after the catastrophic devastation caused by Super Storm Sandy,” Connors stated.

S243 awaits further consideration in the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.

The Senate Transportation Committee approved a related bill that would require representation on the Turnpike Authority’s board by all regions of the state. At least one of the seven appointed members would be from Ocean, Atlantic or Cape May counties.

The bill, S241, can be considered by the full Senate.

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