South Jersey nears new turnpike representation, regular meetings

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 11/24/2014

Two bills halfway through the New Jersey statehouse are intended to give South Jersey residents more of a say in happenings at the Turnpike Authority. The authority oversees the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway.

The Senate voted unanimously to advance one 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.

Sen. Christopher Connors, R-Burlington, said it only makes sense that the southern end of the state has a representative on the Turnpike Authority to provide a more local perspective.

“The case for representation is only strengthened due to the number of projects underway in the southern part of the state,” Connors said in a news release.

The bill, S241, awaits further consideration in the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.

A second Senate-approved bill 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.

S243 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 stated. “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.

S243 is in the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.

Copyright © OOIDA