TRENTON – The Assembly Transportation Committee released two bills along party lines designed to improve pedestrian safety by dedicating some of the proceeds from motor vehicle violation fines.
The first bill, A4064, requires 10 percent of all revenue from motor vehicle fines to go toward the state Safe Routes to Schools program.
The other bill, A4065, calls for increasing fines for violation of certain laws concerning pedestrian safety and traffic control and dedicating funds to certain roadways.
Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-7) of Haddonfield, said he has heard a number of stories where pedestrians were injured, if not killed.
“We need to take some action to turn back that grim statistic,” he said.
He said the roads with the most problems would receive funding first.
Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-22) of Fanwood, supported the bill, saying it’s unfortunate that the safety risk for pedestrians remains pretty high.
Jenna Chernatz of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign also supports the bill, saying it will provide a much needed boost to the safe routes program by setting up a dedicated fund. The percentage of kids walking to school has plummeted from 40 percent in 1969 to 13 percent in 2009.
The American Automobile Association also favored the bill.
Assemblyman Scott Rumana (R-40) of Wayne said he was concerned the bills would mean less financial resources for the municipality and suggested just increasing fees across the board. He and Assemblyman Scott Rudder and Assemblyman John Amodeo abstained.