Senate Transportation releases bills creating rail study commission, setting paratransit wheelchair safety, mandating MVC to reduce customer wait times

TRENTON – The Senate Transportation Committee released S2876/A3876, which will require operators of paratransit vehicles to secure any passenger in a wheelchair using a four-point securement system.

The bill has been amended to include, among other things, that only private entities are subject to the bill’s provisions and also that unoccupied wheelchairs must be secured by a four-point system.

The bill passed unanimously.

Earlier coverage:

Bill would require four-point securing of wheelchairs

In other bills:

The Senate Transportation Committee released S2482, which eliminates Department of Transportation approval for traffic calming measures in business districts.

The municipality would need only to provide notice of its intention to implement traffic calming measures on a state roadway.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Linda Greenstein, (D-14), Plainsboro, and passed the committee unanimously.

The Committee released S2922, which requires the Motor Vehicle Commission to establish standards designed to achieve average customer wait times of 30 minutes or less at all commission facilities, and eventually to establish standards designed to achieve average customer wait times of 15 minutes or less.

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Raymond Lesniak, (D-20), Union, and Jeff Van Drew, (D-1), Dennis Township, is in response to the lengthy wait times customers have sometimes experienced due to the closing of some MVC facilities.

The issue became one of the partisan points of contention earlier this year in the midst and aftermath of budget cuts.

The committee released SJR58, which creates the “Passenger Rail System Study Commission” whose task will be to conduct a comprehensive study of the state’s rail systems, including possible consolidations and coordinations of service.

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Joseph Pennacchio, (R-26), Pine Brook, and Michael Doherty, (R-23), Washington Township, has been amended so that the commission will have six public members, no more than 3 of whom will be from the same party and appointed by the governor.

Committee member Sen. Donald Norcross abstained; the rest of the committee voted in favor of the bill.

And the committee released S2968/A1080(1R), Which establishes a legal defense to the offense of illegally parking in permitted areas of train stations during off-peak hours.

As amended, the bill would create an inference that a spot vacant during the off-peak times is available for general use. If a motorist is cited, they could use this as a defense.

General public parking in such spots during peak hours still would be an offense.

The amended bill says that off-peak hours are from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays and all day on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. As originally introduced, off-peak times on weekdays were defined as the hours from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

 

Senate Transportation releases bills creating rail study commission, setting paratransit wheelchair safety, mandating MVC to reduce customer wait times