A bill from New Jersey State Senator Jeff Van Drew that would offer South Jersey its own guaranteed seat on the New Jersey Turnpike Authority advanced in committee Thursday, and would require that at lease one of the seven appointed members of the agency that oversees the Garden State Parkway be from Ocean, Atlantic or Cape May Counties.
After the Senate Transportation Committee approved the bill, Van Drew said in a statement that the requirement for regional diversity on the Authority’s board would help ensure that rural districts like his own in Cape May County get an equitable share of resources.
“There is a need for South Jersey to have a stronger voice in Turnpike Authority decisions, particularly when they deal with the Garden State Parkway,” Van Drew wrote. “By requiring representation on the board from our region, we will better ensure that local concerns are aired before final decisions are made on matters that affect South Jersey. This will also help to make sure our toll dollars are spent wisely and in the best interest of our residents.”
Currently, the board comprises seven appointees from the governor, five from the Seante, and one each recommended by the Senate President and Assembly Speaker. The Commissoner of Transportation is the eighth member. The bill would also require at least one resident of Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, or Salem County; at least one resident of Mercer County, Middlesex County, or Monmouth County; and at least one resident of Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson County, Union County, or Passaic County.
The bill will now go on to a Senate vote.