New Jersey Senate clears bill setting rules on turnpike representation

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 2/24/2017

South Jersey residents could soon have 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 35-1 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, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Gloucester, or Salem counties.

Sen. Christopher Connors, R-Burlington, has 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.

“Local residents are tired of the backroom political gamesmanship that favor one area of the state over another,” Connors, and Republican Assembly members Brian Rumpf of Ocean and DiAnne Gove of Ocean said in a joint statement. “Requiring South Jersey representation on the Turnpike Authority would provide the strong voice that our area of the state has been missing for too long.”

S1674 awaits further consideration in the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. The Assembly version, A3817, is in the same committee.

A second 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, N.J., located in North Jersey.

S1675 would require meetings to be held on a rotating basis in Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties.

Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, has 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 previously 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.

S1675 is in the Senate Transportation Committee. The Assembly version, A3816, is in the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.

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