Bill for South Jersey seat on Turnpike Authority advances in Senate
When the New Jersey Turnpike Authority meets, if anyone at the table is from South Jersey, it's almost coincidental. It would become mandatory, if a bill sponsored by Ocean County lawmakers advances and gets the Governor's approval.
Forked River-based Senator Chris Connors and Assembly members Brian Rumpf and DiAnne Gove (R-9) sponsor the measure that would require one of the Authority seats to be filled by a resident of Ocean, Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, CapeMay, Gloucestor or Salem County.
It also requires one member to be a resident of Mercer, Middlesex or Monmouth County, and at least one member to reside in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Union or Passaic County.
The bill won Senate approval Monday. It has languished in the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee since May 2016.
Connors, Rumpf and Govealso sponsor legislation that would require staging at least two regular Turnpike Authority meetins each year in the Ocean-Atlantic-Cape May County vicinity.
In a joint statement, the lawmakers pointed to the inequity of a lack of representation in the area of New Jersey that houses an immense stretch of the Garden State Parkway.
"Local residents are tired of the backroom political gamesmanship that favor one area of the state over another," they said.
"This particular issue draws the ire of many of our constituents after having been targeted by the Corzine toll hikes years back. The powers that be saw fit to impose toll hikes on these commuters but, in typical Trenton fashion, have shown no interest in providing these toll payers with any representation on the Turnpike Authority."