Bill for South Jersey seat on Turnpike Authority advances
The days of South Jersey marching to a toll-road beat that's set entirely elsewhere in the state would end, if shore-sponsored state legislation is enacted.
Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May County would have joint representation on the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, under the measure set forth by Senator Chris Connors and Assembly members Brian Rumpf and DiAnne Gove (R-9).
The measure, S-1674, would require a seat on the board for a member from one of the three counties, something that's been a sore point south of Parkway Exit 98 for years upon years. It cleared the Senate Transportation Committee Thursday, and awaits action by the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authortiies Committee.
It isn't the first time around for the bill, which has been amended in previous incarnations to require at least one Authority member from Burlington, Camden, Gloucester or Salem County, at least one from Mercer, Middlesex or Monmouth, and at least one from Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Union or Passaic County.
"South Jersey needs a stronger voice in transportation projects, including within authorities that have final say on infrastructure projects that impact local communities," Connors said in prepared remarks.
"Requiring at least one south Jersey representative on the Turnpike Authority is not only fair but practical given that a large segment of the Garden State Parkway runs through our part of the state."
The Forked River-based lawmakers also sponsor legislation that would require at least two regular Turnpike Authority meetings to be held in the Ocean-Atlantic-Cape May County region, rotated among all three counties.